This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Anthropology and Cosmology, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
In Gnosis we always seek to study the laws that govern the expression of the psyche, the soul, of our consciousness. We seek to understand our place, in a cosmological scale, in relation to God and to our current physical existence. It is important to know that γνῶσις gnosis as a Greek term that signifies direct knowledge. It does not mean theory. It does not mean something that is interesting intellectually, or something to debate. It is not a philosophy to be argued for or against. Instead, it pertains to our direct knowledge of fundamental laws within the universe. And so, it is by understanding these laws and how they apply to our physical life, is that we will be able to advance in spiritual life.
Today we’re going to discuss what people typically call “reincarnation,” and we are going to clarify many misconceptions about the term and about how it applies to our present level of being.
We use the terms return and recurrence in replace of what people typically denominate reincarnation. Most individuals believe that reincarnation is the reincorporation of the psyche within different bodies. But in truth, within Gnostic esotericism, reincarnation has a much more rigorous application to spiritual development. Reincarnation means to willingly choose one’s body, to be cognizant of one’s incarnation within a certain physical circumstance or situation. It also refers to the manifestation of Christ, the supreme deity, divinity, the energy of God, within a specific individual or initiate that has fully prepared him or herself through development.
Typically what people denominate reincarnation or the transference of the soul within different bodies, we call that return, because all of us typically do not remember where we came from, because we lack cognizance. We don’t typically have that direct knowledge of who we were in past lives. Instead, we have returned to a new body without any cognizance or remembrance.
In the Greek myth, I believe that’s referenced by the river of Eunoe, in which the souls would drink the water of hell and they would forget what had happened to them. Specifically, if we don’t have cognizance of where we came from, who we were, where we have been, what was our past personality and identity, name, culture, it means that we have mechanically returned to this body. It means that we have not chosen our specific incarnation.
Recurrence is another matter pertaining to cyclical events within one’s physical life: the repetition of circumstances.
We are going to explain these three terms more in depth, in terms of our relationship to these laws.
In synthesis, we have this image known as the Bhavacakra within Buddhism. We have a beautiful course online on gnosticteachings.org, which specifically explains this symbol, which is essential to Buddhism. We’re not going to explain all the intricacies of this image because we have a course available and it would take many lectures to explain it.
In synthesis this image is a wheel, pertaining to the cyclical manifestation of beings within different levels of existence. We see that there is a figure gripping this wheel with his teeth. This figure is known as Yama, which means “death.” In the center we have six levels or modes of existence. We have the humans, the demigods, the gods, the animals, the demons, and the hungry ghosts. These are different types of psychology, psychological ways of being. Because bhava means “becoming,” a way of being, a level of being, as we say in these studies. People have typically denominated this image as the Wheel of Samsara, which is mistaken. It is really the Bhavacakra: “wheel of becoming,” because, depending on our psychological state, depending on our attachments, or lack thereof, will determine whether or not we cycle through these different states of being.
These beings within this wheel of suffering, within different states of attachment, cling to a mistaken sense of identity. The essential tenant of Buddhism, which we will explain in relation to this study, pertains to how one’s psychological way of being attracts one’s life. Our psychological state determines our life, for as Buddha taught in the Dhammapada: “Mind proceeds phenomena. We become what we think.” And this determines our life. If we perform good actions, then good results will follow, like the cart following an ox. And if we perform bad deeds then likewise bad results will follow. This is particularly relevant in the doctrine of karma, which we are going to explain.
In synthesis, this image portrays how all of us, all beings within this universe, cycle within this ever-recurring and ever-rotating wheel of becoming. There is no freedom from suffering within these realms. In particular relation to us in the human state, it is easy to determine and look to see how the beings of the demon realm obviously suffer. Human beings with many problems suffer. It’s challenging to understand the other realms of “being,” such as the gods or the demigods, but even they have a type of attachment―attachment to states of bliss, which for them is suffering. To comprehend these states we need to awaken our perception, awaken our consciousness.
Now, all beings within these realms are subject to laws of nature, in which they have no control. Typically, it is our lack of cognizance which produces our suffering. Because whether we are in a humanoid state or we have many blessings―such as the demigods or the gods within our life, because these don’t only represent realms of different universes or realms of being, they also pertain to states of psychology that every person possesses―whether or not we have many blessings, many gifts, or many types of comforts, these in the end will be lost. These in the end will be reduced to dust. Therefore we have to analyze our psychology and really determine what is it that is important to know.
This why we study return, recurrence, and reincarnation, because we seek to understand the laws in which we are subjected. Because if we are ignorant of these laws, then we cannot change our way of being. But if we are cognizant of these laws and experience, and how we, due to our state of mind, cycle within different types or states of being, of suffering, it is by knowing these things that we can change it, that we can transcend this wheel.
As we see in this image, there is a figure of a buddha or a bodhisattva, an illuminated initiate or being that has transcended this wheel, has escaped these different states of being, these levels of being, and has transcended these cycles of manifestation of being and of cyclical existence.
So again, this is not a theory. This is something we need to verify with experience.
Typically when we think of reincarnation or return, we think of Hinduism or Buddhism, and typically do not acknowledge that this doctrine of transmigration of souls has existed even within Western doctrine. Sadly, it has been manipulated or taken out of the scriptures and the teachings of Christianity, especially.
The Greek Mysteries of Transmigration
We find the Greek figure Pythagoras, who is a great master of the White Lodge: those souls that have transcended that wheel of becoming and have entered into a perfect state of peace and cognizance. Some people call them supermen, initiates, bodhisattvas. Pythagoras is precisely such an individual who taught that all beings and all things cycle and manifest in cyclical ways. As a result of that they suffer.
Now what’s interesting to note in this image we have Pythagoras. The name Pythagoras comes from pythios―which means or signifies the name of Apollo. Ἀπόλλων Apollo, in Greek, is “Christ,” a figure of the solar god, the sun deity. Pythagoras also has the name Agora which means “market,” marketplace.
The serpent of the market, we could say, if we have studied German esotericism, we find the teachings of Friedrich Nietzsche, who also knew this science, in which he explained how he tried to give this type of doctrine of the eternal return, which we are going to explain, to the public by teaching in the marketplace. Pythagoras precisely had the wisdom of the serpent in his teaching, the wisdom of sexual alchemy. As we explain, the serpent pertains to the divine Mother Kundalini. He was a great master who taught amongst the markets, teaching and gathering disciples, through the wisdom of the serpent, like Nietzsche did fictionally through his Iranian Prophet in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
The word metampsychosis―if we break the word down―comes from the Greek μετεμψύχωσις, metempsychousthai. Meta refers to “after” or “beyond.” And empsychos means “to animate, so that which is beyond our animated form. Anima, in Latin means “soul,” as well. It pertains to how the soul animates different bodies within different existences, before and after one’s current state of knowledge. Meta also related with em, “to be within the soul,” psyche, metempsychosis.
I’ll quote for you some early documentation about the teachings of Pythagoras which elaborates the doctrine of transmigration.
“On the subject of reincarnation Xenophanes bears witness in an elegy which begins `Now I will turn to another tale and show the way'. What he says about Pythagoras runs thus: Once they say that he was passing by when a puppy was being whipped, and he took pity and said, `Stop, do not beat it. For it is the soul of a friend that I recognized when I heard it giving tongue.’” ―Diogenes, Laertius 8.36
This is from Diogenes in his book Laertius, Book 8 Verse 36. So this is an early documentation about the teachings of transmigration. And now we’ll be specific to state that metempsychosis or transmigration pertains to the manifestation of the soul within different types of bodies, not just human body to human body. Because that pertains to return, and we’re going to explain more deeply.
A transmigration, first, is how the soul manifests from different elemental kingdoms of nature within different bodies, whether from the mineral state, the plant state, to the animal state, and then to the humanoid state. This cycle of how the soul migrates within different kingdoms of nature, through forces of evolution. It pertains to transmigration: how the soul migrates within different bodies, different types of bodies. Return pertains to how one manifests again and again within a specific type of body, whether mineral, plant, animal or humanoid. So return pertains to one’s return to the same type of body within a specific type of kingdom. We’re going to elaborate about these kingdoms more specifically.
Pythagoras also teaches, or his doctrine was elaborate by Porthereus, in his Life of Pythagoras.
“None the less, the following became universally known: first, that he maintains that the soul is immortal; second, that it changes into other kinds of living things; third, that events recur in certain cycles and that nothing is ever absolutely new; and fourth, that all living things should be regarded as akin. Pythagoras seems to have been the first to bring these beliefs into Greece.” ―Porphyrius, Life of Pythagoras 19
Those people who are of the Western type of mentally, who reject the doctrine of reincarnation or return, should study Pythagoras, because as a great master of the Greek doctrine, he explained and firmly taught these laws within nature.
It is interesting that we have this document here. It states that the soul is immortal. Einstein said energy is neither created or destroyed. It simply changes form. Energy becomes matter, matter becomes energy. The soul can change types or states of consciousness and form, but it is never lost. It simply migrates. Second, that it changes into other kinds of living things, like we mentioned. Third, that events recur in certain cycles and that nothing is ever absolutely new. This pertains to the doctrine of recurrence, how, in our life, certain states of being or mentality, our mind, our heart, or physical circumstances around us, constantly recur. In our physical life, we have many things that appear psychically and that we need to become aware of. This is recurrence.
Return pertains to how the soul enters into new bodies within a specific kingdom. Return for us is a return into a new humanoid body. Return for animals is a return into a new animal body, whether it is an eagle or a serpent or whatever variety that exists. Return for plants pertains to animating new plant bodies. Even the minerals have a soul which transmit the vital forces of the earth. They too have physicality, body, within the minerals and metals. We say that the minerals and metals are the nervous system of the planet and that they too, have soul.
You take a look at the Kirlian camera, I believe it was a Russian scientist, photographed how minerals and plants and animals have aura, have light, have an energy. Likewise, it is important to note that minerals have a type of life and soul and that we know them an gnomes and pygmies within different ancient-lore or Irish folklore, different traditions. And that the souls of plants also, or elementals of plants, have life and that they animate those physical bodies that we see as trees or flowers or different plants. Likewise, animals have soul, because the word anima means “soul.” People who affirm that animals don’t have a type of soul like many fundamentalist think, are completely mistaken. They should study the teachings of Pythagoras since Christianity is founded upon Greek dialectics and Greek teachings.
The Four Kingdoms
As we are explaining, there are different kingdoms within the department of nature. We use this image to explain the different kingdoms of elemental consciousness. This wheel or this diagram portrays those different kingdoms that I’ve just mentioned. When the soul first animates a new body, or manifests from the absolute source―we call it the Absolute; we call it the ocean of Christ, the light―the soul emanates down what we call the Tree of Life and Kabbalah, as different stages or degrees of matter, energy and consciousness, also reaching the physical plane, and the physical plane in that soul enters into mineral states.
That soul, or anima, animates mineral states. The minerals are of a very simple type of consciousness. But they are the life force of this planet. This mineral kingdom is needed to sustain our world as we know it, in terms of all the vitality and forces that plants receives, that the vitality of the water we drink relates to how the mineral forces are saturating this planet
The soul transmigrates between these different kingdoms, initially though the force of what we call evolution. Evolution is “progression, development, growth.” The souls that are in the mineral kingdom need to gain experience within that kingdom, learning to transmit forces of Christ within the mineral and metal state for the benefit of the universe and of humanity. Once the soul has developed as a mineral, it can progress and evolve, enter or transmigrate into the plant kingdom, into plant states or plant forms. Likewise, the souls of plants also transmit energies. If we look at the trees or the flowers, how they reach up toward the space, it is because the energies of life are now initiating a return upward towards the source. Plants, the elemental souls of the plant kingdom, help transmit vital forces that are necessary for this planet. Once the soul has evolved and developed cognizance and mastery of the level of the plant kingdom, that soul transmigrates to the animal kingdom. It evolves to that state.
Now in the animal kingdom, something unique happens. In the animal kingdom, the souls of the animals are given instinct. They receive a new type of psychology. They’re engrained with a type of instinctual force, given to them by gods, the angels or Elohim, that the Bible speaks of. This is a necessary stage within the evolution of the soul, because there are certain forces that are transmitted by the animals that are necessary for the planet. And now animals, they learn in this kingdom to perform what we call fornication. Fornication is the expulsion of the sexual energy. So in animals, that is natural. They obey the laws of nature. When they feel excited sexually, they copulate with their partner in order to procreate the species. This is a very natural tendency amongst animals. Now animals, they do so and they propagate their species and they gain experience within their consciousness, at that level.
Now once they have finally progressed and gained a higher degree of consciousness within the animal kingdom, they can then enter or transmigrate into a humanoid body.
Now what’s interesting to note is we don’t call this the human kingdom, as ironic as that might sound. We say humanoid, because really, all of us are animal souls that have reincarnated into human bodies. Again, remember that the word anima is “soul.” The special gift that the humanoids receive is the intellect. Now the intellect is a machine or vehicle that will allow us to learn to differentiate between good and evil. Animals, plants and minerals don’t know that difference. They don’t have intellect. They have a type of mind, a type of understanding or perception. But it is not intellectual. There’s no rationalization there. There’s no thesis/antithesis, theory/anti-theory, concept/anti-concept. That is a specific demarcation, the demarcation between the humanoid kingdom with the previous kingdoms. It is precisely that we have that intellect, and this a gift, that we need to learn how to use for divinity.
That is why Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, stated, with clarity, that really, we are intellectual animals. Meaning: we are souls with intellect. We have not yet entered into what we call the “Human Kingdom.”
If you look in this image, we find a diagram or a path leading upward from the humanoid kingdom toward what we call “the heavens,” the superior kingdoms, represented as the Tree of Life as we have in this book available here. Now, the word hum-an is interesting. The word hum is “spirit.” The word man is “manas” or “mind.” Being refers to divinity. So a human being is an individual that has incarnated into their being, has incarnated God, a mind that is fully united with hum, the spirit, divinity.
As we are now, we are not that. It is necessary to recognize this fact because, if we mediated, examined our mind, what we will find are a lot of disordered thoughts, worries, preoccupations, fears, frustrations, anger, resentment―negative psychological elements which had emerged initially from the animal kingdom.
Now animals, due to the active fornication, the active expelling of that energy, the sexual force, in order to procreate, they develop what we call ego. But to a very minor degree. They develop a type of psychological element, sense of self, as a result of that act, because the sexual energy is creative. It needs to, in animals, it is used to create life, physical life. Likewise, this energy creates animal mind, or ego to a minor degree.
The problem is once we have entered into the humanoid kingdom, we carry these animal tendencies within our psyche. Notice that in the Bible when Adam and Eve, symbol of primordial humanity, were in the garden, they were told specifically, told by Jehovah Elohim, in Hebrew meaning the Tetragrammaton of Gods and Goddesses, the Holy Spirit, “In this Tree of Knowledge you shall not eat, neither shall you touch it, lest ye die. The trees of the Garden you may freely eat from, the Tree of Life.” Symbolically, it is representing how the soul on that level initially knew God and experienced the entire Tree of Life, representing the human being in his totality, reflecting the light of God. But humanity, using the intellect to justify animal passion, did not obey that commandment given by divinity towards that ancient humanity, which is lost within our memory within these times, but is well documented within ancient traditions.
Humanity indulged in that forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which we precisely state is the sexual energy, the most powerful force that we carry within our psyches, and within our bodies, in our spirit, in our mind. This energy, which has been evolving progressively through the inferior kingdoms, has complicated itself and manifested itself finally into a humanoid body, in which the souls have finally entered into humanoid state. The problem is that with the intellect, human beings have used it to justify animal passion, as I stated, which is the expulsion of that sexual energy. This in itself fortifies those animalistic elements called ego: anger, pride, vanity, laziness, lust, etcetera. The human beings of the superior kingdom, the angels, the Elohim, obey the sixth commandment of Moses, “Though shall not fornicate.” Meaning: to use that energy in purity. The angels told that ancient humanity, “Well, previously you used that energy to procreate as animals. Now you can’t do that anymore if you want to enter into the higher kingdoms.”
Evolution and Devolution: The Mechanicity of Nature
Notice that evolution, as a process or development of the soul, takes the soul and transmigrates from these different kingdoms to the humanoid state through the process of evolution, meaning: there’s no effort involved. It is mechanical. It is a way that’s taking one up like a wheel, or a ferry ride, or a Ferris wheel. At the top, the soul has a choice: to follow superior laws or to continue with animal passion, to indulge in those negative psychological elements and fortify them. As we see in this image, we have a devolving current, meaning a retrogressive descent, back into those inferior kingdoms.
The force of devolution pertains to destruction, or disintegration, retrogression: to go backwards. Those souls that don’t enter into the human kingdom, the kingdom of the angels, let themselves be swallowed by the devolving forces of nature, because if those souls do not want to enter the kingdom of the human beings, the angels, if they don’t willingly want to destroy their defects by working with tantra and alchemy, to ascend inward and upward, to God, unfortunately they have to be disintegrated in the process known as hell.
Now hell refers to not only to a place, but a state of suffering. What religions call hell is really a type of, we can call, recycling plant, as a type of analogy. It’s not an eternal place of damnation where no one ever escapes. That is a ludicrous interpretation. Instead, it’s a retrogressive decline back into animal bodies, into plant bodies, into mineral bodies as the soul transmigrates back down towards the interior of the earth. This is known as the submerged mineral kingdom, or the abyss, hell, Avitchi, Tartarus, the infernos, given different names in different traditions. That’s in order that the soul can be liberated from the ego that has swallowed it, that has encapsulated it, because ego takes the soul and conditions it in a shell.
This is the meaning of the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp. You break the shell, you break the lamp, you free the genie, which is the soul that can produce miracles. But sadly, those who don’t want to disintegrate their ego, well, actually as an act of compassion by divinity, those souls are retrogressively sent down into the inferior kingdoms, descending down into the interior of the earth, in order to be disintegrated. We’re going to elaborate on this further. But that’s in order that the ego can be destroyed. That’s in order that those negative psychological elements can be eliminated so that the soul, the genie, can be liberated, and released back into nature.
Now this is a cycle that I mentioned to you. Many souls, they ascend through evolution up the different kingdoms and achieve a humanoid body, but choose to follow the devolving path, to let themselves be swallowed by nature, and therefore they retrogress and go back towards these inferior kingdoms until entering into the abyss or hell to be disintegrated. When the soul is liberated, it enters again into a mineral state and the cycle continues. This is a type of repetition or transmigration that we need to be aware of, not just intellectually, but from experience.
The Path of Revolutionary Self-Transformation
Now, we study the laws of the superior kingdoms. If we are in these studies, or interested in these studies, it is because we are tired of suffering, of repeating cyclical events in life. And deep down in the soul, we yearn not to be swallowed by nature, to be disintegrated in the inferior kingdoms, or the kingdoms of the abyss. Now to escape that, we need to follow the commandments of Jehovah Elohim, which is in the Bible, “Thou shall not fornicate,” and to willingly work on ourselves with the practices given in this tradition so that we can ascend towards heaven, through our practical work.
Now, this teaching was also given by the Sufi initiates such as Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, or simply known as Rumi in the West. And many Sufis are not aware, not many individuals are aware, that we find this even in Middle Eastern doctrine, the esoteric teachings of Islam. Rumi explained this:
“I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?” ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
Then he elaborates that if we want to ascend towards God, we need to transcend the state of the humanoid person, the humanoid, in order to become an angel. This path that we discussed previously is the path of revolution. It means that it takes a particular effort on our part in order to actualize divinity within us and to develop it.
“Yet once more I shall die as Man, (or humanoid, human person) to soar with angels blest; but even from angelhood I must pass on: all except God doth perish.” ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
We are interested in becoming angles, and the angels are interested to coming closer to God, but that’s another level and would take other lectures to discuss. But here we’re just discussing how we want to transcend this wheel of return―transmigration, better said. And later Rumi says:
“When I have sacrificed my angel-soul, I shall become what no mind e'er conceived. Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence (meaning the absolute from which we emerged, that great source of divinity from which the gods emerged) proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return (which is a very famous teaching in Islam). –Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
Ego, Essence, and Personality in the Bible
Now, in the next graphic we have what we denominate the three aspects of gnostic psychology, which we’ve been discussing already. It is important to understand what in us returns into new bodies and what in us needs to be worked on and eliminated if we want to unite with divinity. The Bible talks about three principle characters, which are essential to understanding our psychology.
As I’ve been mentioning, we have the ego, which we can call Cain, in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis. From what happened in the original story was that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, meaning they abused of that sacred sexual power and did not use it for divine purposes and therefore, they were expelled.
Literally the word Eden means “bliss.” All the many theologians and philosophers have argued that it was God who expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden. The truth is that we expelled ourselves. Literally there is an expulsion of energy, the expulsion of the energies of bliss, when there is an orgasm, when there is the abuse of the sexual power. So willingly, as a result of following our animal passion, we continued along the path of procreation as animals instead of using that energy to create the soul within.
When Adam and Eve were expelled, we had this excerpt from the Book of Genesis, chapter 4 verses 1-2.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from יהוה (Jehovah, Allah, the Lord). And she again bare his brother Abel (Habel). And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” –Genesis 4:1-2
So “Adam knew his wife.” This means, to have knowledge of one’s wife is to engage in the sexual act, whether as animals or as angels, because the angels are born from sex, the same way that a physical body can be born from sex. The soul can also be created through that energy, and this is the teachings of tantra. Now if we abuse of that energy, we create Cain. So, these are not just people who live in the past, but archetypes: symbols of elements within our interior that we need to understand. Through the act of fornication, of abusing the energy, we heavily fortify the mind, the intellect, and strengthen animal passion.
So, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from Jehovah” because יהוה Jah-Chavah is sexual energy. The power of Christ is within the sexual matter. She said, “I gave birth to Cain as a result of my energy.” And she again bore his brother Abel, and Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now it is important to know that within alchemy Adam is not just representing man within the past, but refers to the brain. Eve, or חַוָה Havah, literally means “mother of the living.” It refers to the sexual organs, whether in man or in woman. So, Adam and Eve represent aspects of our physiology and our psychology, the mind, Adam, and Eve, Havah.
It is precisely through this energy, when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, because it was Eve that took fruit from the tree, meaning the sexual organs indulged in passion, in lust, and expelled that energy: ate from the forbidden fruit. She then gave it to Adam, to the brain, and said, “This feels wonderful. Taste this. Taste the orgasm.” So the brain is the one that received the effects afterward and then justified, “Oh this is a good feeling.” However, they realized that they were naked, meaning: they lost their connection with their divinity and they felt the absence of God within them. This is the esoteric meaning of Genesis. So later, I mean they were expelled by Jehovah Elohim, by Jehovah. Then Adam knew his wife again, Eve. And through that energy again, created Cain.
Cain is the type of mind that we have in these times, which is solely based on the senses, is very materialistic. This is what it means to be a tiller of the ground: only concerned with physical things, our job, our money, our career, our family, supporting ourselves physically, being identified with the senses. All of us are tillers of the ground. We are occupied with physical things.
We are typically not keepers of sheep. Sheep, in esotericism refers to, “the lamb of Christ”―sheep, lamb, ram. Jesus is referred to as the sacrificial lamb. To be a keeper of sheep is to work with the energy known as Christ. Those of us who entered into these types of studies, we work with mantra, and if we’re married, we work in alchemy, conserving the energies in order to become keeper of sheep, to develop those principles of Christ within us.
If we remember the story, Cain killed Abel. This refers to how our own ego, our own anger and pride and vanity and lust, kills the soul. Whenever we identify with any negative element in our mind, our heart, our body, we kill our soul. We destroy our consciousness. We deepen our suffering. We feed our consciousness and trap our soul within the cages of the ego, the mind. It is important to understand these principles, because our ego is the shell that cages our soul and prevents us from knowing God. Likewise, we study these principles because it is the ego and the Essence, or the ego and the soul, Cain and Abel, that constantly reincorporate into new bodies.
When we ask ourselves, well, what is it that returns to a new humanoid body? It is our ego and our soul, constantly returning to new bodies. Whenever we enter a new body, or have entered into new bodies, we develop what is called a personality. Personality pertains to one’s customs, language, name, heredity, culture, things that are extrinsic, particularly relating to physical things. That develops typically within the years four to seven within a child, and it is by developing a personality, which the Latin word persona means “masks,” we relate to the world. That’s how the ego can reincorporate. The ego needs its personality in order to manifest in the physical body, which is explained in books like Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. But in synthesis, we talk about ego and essence and personality.
Now in the Bible, personality pertains to a figure known as Nimrod. Now Nimrod was the one who built the Tower of Babel, or we know it as the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel represents all the gibberish that we find in our planet, whether in politics, systems that state that they promote freedom and equality for all, but in fact are degenerate and destructive. We find this type of babble and incoherence within religions that teach that one is easily saved without having to work on oneself. We find this type of babble in the personality, in all the wars that have existed on this planet with our humanity.
The reason why, or let me explain further, in the myth, Nimrod was building this tower of Babel to heaven. And God, indignant, confounded humanity, and humanity then separated into different languages, and customs, and types of people, groups. Because in the past, it was stated in the Bible that “Humanity spoke one language.” When humanity was pure, they spoke only the language of God, called the “Pure Golden Language.” As a result of entering into fornication, the mind, or one, creates anger and all of these negative psychological elements, the ego. That in turn, creates division, and later manifests and propagated itself within different groups and cultures, where people began to experience a greater sense of separation. Different languages developed. Different customs and culture developed. That’s personality. Personality is a type of energy, and its crystalized within our body, within our psyche, within ourselves, here and now, so that we learn how to interact with the world.
Either the soul or the ego can use the personality. Now we want to use our personality, our ways of dealing with the world, our customs, our job, our language, in a conscious way, using it with the soul. But typically what happens is that our ego complicates things, fortifies things. Therefore, the personality becomes very degenerated as well. And really, we create our own towers of babble. In each life that we enter into, we create new problems for ourselves, just in a different language, maybe or a different type of culture, a different type of existence.
We have here in this, the book of Genesis, Chapter 10 verses 8 through 10:
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before יהוה: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before יהוה. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” –Genesis 10:8-10
So what does it mean that Nimrod, the personality, is a mighty hunter? It means that with our personalities we are always constantly hunting after things. People, comedians, politicians, have very strong personalities and people feel attracted to that. Now, the personality is something that is born in one life and is disintegrated when that soul disincarnates. That soul reincorporates into a new body. The personality is something that is not immutable. It is something that is transient. People who are very clairvoyant and who look in graveyards, they often will see the personalities of the dead, mistaking them as the soul, or consciousness, or ghost of that person. They see the really the energy of that person, which is the personality. When that personality is very strong, it can even move physical things. Many people have documented this type of phenomenon. But a personality is born in life and then it dies in the grave, basically. The personality does not return. There’s always a new building. There’s always a new Tower of Babel that we create in each life, which creates problems for ourselves.
The doctrine of return was taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. He explained in the scripture how it is really the ego, and the soul, the consciousness or Essence, that reincorporates into new physical bodies. Now in these studies we teach that we are granted 108 opportunities within humanoid bodies, in order to perform this work that we call self-realization, to enter the path of tantra, to follow the commandments of Jehovah Elohim, so that, like in the Bible, we can create Seth.
So if you remember the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve begot Cain and Abel. Abel was killed and later Adam and Eve, Adam knew his wife again, and begot Seth. Seth is an archetype referring to working in alchemy, but it would take another lecture to explain the meaning of that.
But here we are discussing how the soul and the ego reincorporate and that we have 108 opportunities within humanoid bodies. The reason being is that we have 12 zodiacal signs. We incorporate within each zodiacal sign 9 times. 9 refers to, in Kabbalah, the secret teachings of alchemy, or Yesod, the foundation, the sexual energy. In order for us to gain experience with different types of personalities, learning about different ways of being, we are born 9 times within each zodiacal sign, so that we gain experience and become more rounded as a psyche. The problem is that we typically are not aware of where we came from or where we’re going. Therefore, we need to learn to meditate, so that we can comprehend where it is we came from. Yes?
Question: I have a question. What about this esoteric astrology? Where do they say that, at least in this incarnation, a competent astrologist says, think Steiner said it “This is the math of the soul”?
Instructor: These are certain tendencies that are manifested within certain horoscopes. I don’t suggest, as you know, the pop-horoscopes that people propagate. But esoteric astrology, which is very profound, there are certain tendencies we can learn about the type of personality that we develop in relationship to the zodiacal sign of which we belong. That will guide us to certain understandings of how to relate to the world.
Question: What happened in a previous incarnation? Is there a link there?
Instructor: The truth is, say for instance, if we’re in the sign of Libra, it probably means that we’ve already been in that sign many times. So, we have the zodiacal influences within ourselves here and now. We’re just not aware of it. It just happens to be that in this current incarnation, we are manifesting a specific tendency. So it is important to understand what is that chief characteristic, tendency, that we’re manifesting through the zodiac in which we are born in this life. It does relate to our past lives, because we’ve all developed under different zodiacal signs and they all relate. And we need to comprehend them. Yes?
Question: Isn’t it true too that, regardless of what your suns sign is in a particular life, in the books they talk about “your ray,” one of the seven, and that’s the continuous thing. Is that what you belong to?
Instructor: Yes, and we talk about in these studies the seven rays, which relates to God. Here we’re talking about the personality, which is transient. We develop many personalities. We discard them in each life. The spiritual way pertains to our inner divinity within, which is eternal.
Question: So are you saying that the zodiac sign influences your personality, or your ego? Or both?
Instructor: It pertains to our personality, but also, certain egos relate to certain tendencies in the personality. Because when we are all masked at a party for instance, I’m not sure if you studied Shakespeare, but there’s a certain play where characters were dressed in masks and they’re playing a role as a result of the mask that they wore. So they were exhibiting certain tendencies as a result of the performance they’re doing. Persona is the mask of the personality in how we relate to others. It does relate to certain egos that we have. Also, there’s certain positive influences in the zodiac that pertain to the soul. In the book Practical Astrology, the soul can manifest certain tendencies which are superior, relating to a zodiac. So it relates to all of that, but for us, we want to know how that relates to our personality, because our personality is very centered on the negative influence of our zodiac.
Comment: Just want to add to that. People say “I’m this” and that’s a big generalization. People have studied these prominent astrologies. There’s so much to it. I mean, what they call aspects, what they call planet in the sign, how it relates in the sextiles―and it gets complicated. So the sun sign is general. Then they’ll have what they call the moon sign, which is very important. Then the rising sign. Those are key. From what I read, I’m just giving you a consensus to what they’re saying. But then when you get into what they call the aspects, the good things, the negative things in other words, in math, that’s why these competent astrologers, they take some time. It gets involved. That’s all.
Instructor: And it’s a deep science, which would take many lectures. It would take a whole course to explain it. But in terms of our personality, and our ego, and our essence, the zodiac― we are born in each zodiac. We need to study our zodiac, because its just going to tell us about our personality, certain tendencies that we have. Now in each life, we return to a certain zodiac and we’re granted, as I said, 108 lives―opportunities―in order to enter the path of self-realization.
Return in the Bhagavad-Gita
So, the Master Krishna spoke to our Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, teaching this:
18. These bodies of the embodied Self (Atman, the Innermost Being, who is our own Father within), which is eternal, indestructible and immeasurable, are said to have an end (meaning the bodies are said to have an end). Therefore, fight, O Arjuna! 19. He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows; He slays not nor is He slain. ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
He is giving a teaching here about the need to enter the path of self-realization, because the body will die, but the soul and ego will continue on. If we don’t develop our consciousness by working on the ego, by disintegrating it through meditation, by working with sexual energy, whether in mantras or working in a matrimony, we cannot enter into that straight path mentioned by Jesus, the path of revolution of the consciousness, to return to God and ascend to the higher kingdoms.
Krishna continues with atman, the spirit, our inner God:
20. He is not born nor does He ever die; after having been, He again ceases not to be. Unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient, He is not killed when the body is killed, 21. Whosoever knows Him to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Arjuna, or cause to be slain? 22. Just as a man casts off worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters others that are new. ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
So like Rumi said, “Why worry?” in a sense. People are terrified of death, physically. They ignore that they may be given an opportunity to return to a new body depending on karma.
23. Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not. 24. This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted nor dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable. 25. This (Self) is said to be unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing This to be such, thou shouldst not grieve. 26. But, even if thou thinkest of It as being constantly born and dying, even then, O mighty-armed, thou shouldst not grieve! 27. For, certain is death for the born and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve. 28. Beings are unmanifested in their beginning, manifested in their middle state, O Arjuna, and unmanifested again in their end! What is there to grieve about? ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
And as I said Rumi mentioned the same thing, “When was I less by dying?”
What is important, this teaching by Krishna, if we don’t constantly work to destroy our defects, then nature will come and swallow us, because in order to be saved in Christian soteriology―the doctrine of salvation―we need to eliminate our defects so that we can return to God. This is the path of the cross taught by master Jesus. The other option is to allow oneself to be swallowed by nature. At the end of one’s 108 humanoid bodies, if one still has not made any effort to change, then there is no other choice but for that soul within the ego to be disintegrated, or the ego, that person, to be disintegrated by nature.
Disintegration within Hell
As representative in The Divine Comedy, the Inferno, where Dante, taken by his master Virgil, descends through the different inferior spheres of the Klipoth―the interior dimensions of the earth. This doesn’t mean that physically there are people in the earth suffering, but within the interior dimensions of nature, there are different beings that suffer.
If you remember the image of the Bhavacakra we showed, there are the hell beings who are trapped within that realm, being disintegrated by their own passion and by the forces of nature, which are exerting themselves, which are like the earth crushing coal in order to eliminate its impurities to produce a diamond, the liberated Essence.
Dante here in this image, is with Virgil looking at the lost souls with the ninth sphere. So there’s nine heavens and nine hells we say in the Kabbalah. In the ninth sphere, we see souls that are disintegrating within the interior of the earth. They’re frozen at their neck up, or their bodies are lodged in place being destroyed, and the forces of nature are slowly disintegrating their ego.
We didn’t mention previously, but we elaborate that in relation to the development of the soul within the forces of evolution, upon entering the mineral kingdom, the soul receives certain bodies. Now, not only does the soul receive a physical body as a mineral, but also what we call internal bodies, or lunar bodies. These are gifts of nature that allow that soul to exist in superior dimensions, known as heaven, which we can access in the dream state. The souls develop within their lunar bodies, those vehicles that belong to nature, in order to progress up the different kingdoms. Those lunar bodies develop and grow as a result of those forces. Even upon entering the humanoid kingdom, we have the lunar bodies. And the problem is that our soul manifesting in those bodies, if it does not make the effort to change, the ego really integrates with those lunar bodies and nature, in a sense, swallows her own children, as in the law, “To eat or be eaten.” Those forces take those bodies, along with the soul, down into the interior kingdoms to be disintegrated. So what we see here are the souls within their lunar bodies being disintegrated. These are vehicles for the soul to manifest.
Question: Does that have anything to do with, Saturn devoured his children or something?
Comment: Kronos. Yes Saturn is Kronos too.
Question: That’s the same analogy you’re making here?
Instructor: Saturn is death. Really we can say that mother nature really attempts to swallow her own children. This is the meaning of the Goddess Kali in Hinduism, the inverted aspect of Kali, which is the one who devours her children. Shakespeare had a play called Titus Andronicus, and which, if you’re not familiar with it, a man gets revenge on this woman, his enemy, by secretly killing her children and then feeding it to her. Symbolically hidden in that is that she represents Kali eating her own children, eating her soul. Now, this path devolving and entering into inferior states, those lunar bodies are disintegrated along with the ego, by the forces of nature.
Comment: You said right now that Dante, in some of the books, was translated in the Italian language, it’s the same thing though when you translate it. It’s kind of really depressing. He was a little more graphic the way he described it in this book. A dry comedy. It was a sign, a cave with fumes coming out, and over the top was written in Latin: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Instructor: Right. But there’s hope for us. The truth is even the souls that really want to change can be helped. Even though it says “abandon all hope,” well, there are many who are completely lost. But there are some that can be saved. As evidence, if you read a book called The Revolution of Beelzebub, a prince of demons repents. So even demons can change.
Question: Is the 108 lives strict, or if someone was really trying to change and ran out of time, is there any mercy for people?
Instructor: Yeah, there’s mercy. The law of karma is mercy and severity. There’s always opportunities if the soul is working. If they reach their 108th life and they’re showing, they’re demonstrating they want to continue on the path, they’re going to get another body. They’re going to be helped. Also, the soul is granted extra help by creating the solar bodies too, particularly in the relationship with the solar astral body, which we are going to explain.
Now Homer said:
“It is better to be a beggar upon earth than a king in the kingdom of darkness.” ―Homer
And Samael Aun Weor, states the following about this path of transmigration in his book The Magic of the Runes:
“Therefore, the descent into the tenebrous worlds is a backward trip through the devolving path. It is a downfall into an always increasing density, within obscurity and rigidity. It is a return, a repetition of the animal, plant, and mineral states, in short, a return into the primitive chaos.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
And that chaos is within the interior of the earth, in the inferior dimensions, in which we find precisely, the soul is disintegrating as in this image, where lost souls are being dissolved, such in the lake of the ninth sphere, the frozen lake where they’re being disintegrated.
“The souls of the abyss are liberated with the Second Death. These souls receive the token for their freedom when the ego and the lunar bodies are reduced to dust. The souls who are coming from the interior of the earth, who are marked by the frightful subterranean trip and covered with dust, convert themselves into gnomes of the mineral kingdom, then later into elementals of the plant kingdom, further into animals, and finally they reconquer the lost human state.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
So the second death mentioned in the Book of Revelation, pertains to when the lunar bodies and the ego are disintegrated in the ninth sphere. But it doesn’t mean, like religion says, that there is eternal damnation, that one is in hell forever. It doesn’t mean that. It refers to eternity. Eternity is a circle, and that eternity has its own sense of temporality, of time―not linear, but circular. To suffer eternal damnation means to suffer within eternity. It doesn’t mean it is punishment without end. That would be ludicrous, because divinity is merciful.
The second death is necessary to free those souls from the hell realms, so the souls can evolve again up the elemental kingdoms.
“This is the wise doctrine of Transmigration taught in foregone times by Krishna, the Hindustani Master. Millions of souls who died within the inferno are now playing as gnomes upon the rocks. Other souls are now delectable plants, or are living within animal creatures and longing to return to the human state.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
The Aeneid and Roman Esotericism
It should not be surprising, that this teaching should not necessarily be for scholars of religion, something that is unusual. Because we find this teaching of return, or reincorporation, of transmigration, and the descent into the inferior kingdoms explained in many cosmogonies and theologies, especially within The Aeneid by Virgil, which is probably one of the most well-read documentations of Latin literature.
In the poem―describing Aeneas, the Trojan paladin who escapes the burning of Troy in order to found the kingdom of Italy, or Lavinium, to propagate his people―it represents how the soul is entering into the superior path, performing the exodus, we could say, like Moses, ascending up back to the Promised Land of Jehovah, the Tree of Life. In the poem, Aeneas comes upon an island where they’re ripping off the branches to perform a ritual, a ritual ceremony for fire, one of the trees starts to bleed and a voice cries out from it. The soldiers and Aeneas are alarmed when they hear this proclamation from this soul within the tree.
“Why do you tear my poor flesh, Aeneas? Take pity now on the man who is buried here and do not pollute your righteous hands. I am not stranger to you. It was Troy that bore me and this is not a tree that is oozing blood. Escape, I beg you, from these cruel shores, from this land of greed. It is Polydorus that speaks. This is where I was struck down and an iron crop of weapons covered my body. Their sharp points have rooted and grown in my flesh.” ―Virgil, The Aeneid
In this image we have, again, a picture from Dante’s Divine Comedy. The tree, the people who are the souls that are trapped within the bodies of trees, are suffering in these forms, tormented by the harpies―which are, what we say “witches” or “sorceresses” who take on the form of birds. With their humanoid faces intact, they are inflicting suffering on these souls that are devolving within these trees, within these elemental forms, within hell. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Magic of the Runes:
“Since the ancient times of Arcadia, when worship to the gods of the four elements of the universe and to the deities of the tender corn was still performed, the old hierophants, with their hair growing white with wisdom, never ignored the multiplicity of the “I.” Is it then rare, perchance, for any one of these many entities that constitute the ego to seize itself to life with much obsession and to be re-born in a tree?” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
The ego is not singular, but multiple. Each negative emotion in itself is an ego, a sense of self that can either reincorporate into new bodies, or as a gift of divinity, can be sent down into the infernal kingdoms to give help to the soul to which the ego belongs.
The ego is multiple, and when we examine our mind, each negative type of thought or feeling or emotion is separate. It’s a different type of entity. As taught by the great masters, we have this understanding that the ego is multiple and that, as a gift of grace, not all of our egos will manifest within the same body that we have. Sometimes, when reincorporating into a new humanoid body, certain egos are lost. Certainly, the most perverse egos are sent down into the inferno to be disintegrated as a gift of mercy.
This particularly relates to the myth of the centaurs. Now, we have in this image, I believe it’s Athena or Minerva, her Romanized name, soothing or trying to ease the suffering of a centaur. A centaur is half human half animal. That’s really us. We are half humanoid. We have, really, the physical body of a human, but our mind is animal.
Another meaning of centaur is a being that has divinity within, has created what we call the solar bodies, but still has the ego to eliminate. A centaur is really a split being. We call them hasnamussen, beings with a split-polarity, one with development in God, but still the ego has not been fully eliminated.
So, Minerva is offering grace to this being. Certain beings are given that, really, I would say all of us are given, that help. When we’ve reincorporated into a new body, certain egos are lost, and the less perverse egos are given into our body in order for us to work on them. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Magic of the Runes, elaborating on the points we made:
“Another case comes into my memory, that of Pythagoras and his friend who was reincorporated into a poor dog. But, is it not perhaps true that the centaurs are assisted? What are the legends of the centuries telling us? These epic warriors (centaurs) who fell bleeding among the helmets and bucklers of those who gloriously died for the love of their people and their country, receive a well-deserved extra help when they return into this world.
“It is written with tremendous words that the centaurs, before returning into this valley of tears, eliminate part of themselves, part of their beloved ego. The law for centaurs is as follows: what is decisively criminal in them must enter the crematorium of the infernal worlds, and what is less perverse must be reincorporated into a human body. The old laurel-crowned Florentine Dante found many centaurs in the abyss. Let us remember Chiron, the old tutor of Achilles and Pholus, who was so frenzied. It is said with frightening and complete clarity in the great book of Nature, written with flaming embers, that before returning into this world, many parts of the ego are lost. Many psychic aggregates of the “itself” reincorporate into organisms of beasts, others are desperately seized (as the case of Polidorus) into the branches of trees, and finally, certain subjective elements of the “I” continue their devolution into the submerged mineral kingdom.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
It’s an act of mercy, really. If we really had all of our egos, especially the worst ones, manifesting in our psyche at the level in which we are, we would be suffering a lot more. In many cases, really, we are given help. The centaurs, those initiates who develop the solar bodies or the superior vehicles of the soul, have received a special grace. Lunar bodies pertain to bodies given by nature. Solar bodies signify what is meant by Jesus to “be born again,” precisely through tantra, the path of the cross, to create spiritual vehicles that can manifest divinity within which relates to reincarnation, that we’re going to explain.
Recurrence and Karma: The Infallible Law of Causality
In this image we have the wheel of fortune, the wheel of the centuries, the wheel of karma. Everything we’ve been explaining pertains to transmigration, or return: how the soul migrates into different bodies, into the different kingdoms. Now we’re going to talk about the laws that relate to our current physical life, pertaining to karma, which we also call recurrence. The law of recurrence pertains to karma.
In this image, we have the wheel of fortune, which can also be equated with the Bhavacakra, as well. In this image we have fortune that is blind, is rotating the wheel of destiny, in which the poor are elevated and the rich are denigrated, they descend.
Carl Orff beautifully represented the suffering of this mechanical wheel in his Carmina Burana, a great initiatic work of art. It is a choral piece.
People often think fortune is some blind law that is controlled or managed by some outside external being, some external entity. They say, “Well, Justin emis blind. God is blind. It is causing my suffering and it is ignoring my pain and has no mercy.” This is an ignorant perspective to take, because the one that is blind in this image is us. The truth is we all have power over our own destiny if we take control of it. As Hamlet stated in, or as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them” (Hamlet Act III, ll. 57-61). Either to be swallowed through nature, devolving into hell or to revolt against those forces, in order to unite with God―to be or not to be. All of us are constantly receiving the results of our past actions, whether in this life or in previous lives. Recurrence pertains to the cycle or manifestation of events that have their roots in past lives and past actions, as well.
कर Karma in Sanskrit literally means, “deed.” Coming from the root word क kri, which means “to do, make, cause and effect.” The word karman means “to act.” It refers to cause and effects, causality. It does not mean a blind law in which we suffer a lot as a result. It refers to the equilibration of forces as a result of our past actions.
So, if we were evil in a past life, we will receive the results of our actions of that life. If we inflicted harm on another person, that person will return and come back in our life as a recurrence and will inflict that same harm on is. This is the law of the Talion.
Now typically, we identify too much with our situations, the recurrent themes of our life, and we have many psychological songs in which we justify our suffering. We all have that to a degree. The thing is to realize that we are the ones responsible for our own actions and therefore we can receive superior results if we learn to fulfill what we call Karma Yoga, helping others do good deeds, so that we can cancel out our past karma, and also recurring events that are negative in nature. This law is fundamental even within Christianity, Judaism, and a Islam, not just Hinduism or Buddhism.
“Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” –Galatians 6:7.
So recurrence pertains to, say for instance, if we committed adultery in the past, in a past life. When meeting that partner again, karma will be in action and that individual may commit adultery against us as a type of equilibration of forces. If we did evil, we have to receive evil. Whatever we do we receive the result. Therefore, if we are not in control of our own mind, as we stated in the beginning about the Dhammapada, “mind precedes phenomena, we become what we think.” If we don’t comprehend this law in action, then we are always going to suffer as a result of our mistake and actions.
Question: What about your thinking?
Instructor: Exactly. What we are internally determines our life and also attracts our life. Events constantly repeat themselves so long as the ego is there. The ego that is responsible for certain crimes or conflicts in our lives, relating to past lives, is constantly fulfilling its own, enacting itself according to its own conditioning. Now, if we let ourselves be controlled by our mind, then we receive the results. The ego is an actor.
Samael Aun Weor states in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology how we are constantly playing the same dramas, tragedies, comedies, etc., on the screen of life. If you kill the actor, the drama is over. If you kill the actor, there’s no more comedy. Instead, you have a superior way of life. So, we need to comprehend the ego and annihilate it, so we cease to repeat life in a mistaken way.
The Three Eternals
The Buddha said that there are three eternal things in life that pertain to this doctrine of recurrence, and karma, as well as cosmological teachings. There is the law, karma, which is eternal; there is nirvana; and then there is space. These are eternal things within nature.
The law pertains to the law of equilibrium. Scientists call it “invariance,” in which any energy that is enacted from a certain point of origin must always return to that point of origin in order to balance itself. Therefore, psychologically speaking, we need to understand how this applies to us, because if we constantly argue with our friends, our family, our spouse, feeding our anger, that energy that we expel outward is going to come back at us. Therefore, we have to receive the results of our actions.
Now what we need to understand is nirvana, because nirvana in Sanskrit means “cessation.” Cessation pertains to the elimination of the causes of our suffering, which is heaven. Heaven is a state of being. It is also a place, the superior dimensions of nature. But more importantly, it refers to here and now as a psychological state. We need to understand cessation and the causes of our suffering, according to Buddhism, if we want to enter a superior way of life.
Then there’s space, which is the eternal root origin of our Being. We call it the Absolute. We call it the emptiness: shunyata. We call it Allah. We call is Christ, the source of all creation of all beings. It’s emptiness is not an abstract nihilism, nor is it a complete negation of all things. Instead it is a type of being that can only be comprehended through meditation and experience.
In relation to this Buddhist doctrine, understanding the impermanent nature of phenomena is how we learn to comprehend our ego, because when we see how our egos’ physical sense of self is transient, how anger emerges in concurrence with causes and conditions and then disappears, how certain emotional states come and go, how they recur, how they repeat themselves, it is by comprehending this relationship to external phenomena that we comprehend that our internal states are really empty, and that anger is not eternal. It’s a transient emotional state, a mistaken perception of self, which traps our consciousness and makes us suffer. When we comprehend that it is intrinsically really empty, that no ego is independent of anything else, there’s nothing eternal about it. There are certain causes and conditions, certain karmas, that propel and enact that ego to manifest within a certain situation. We understand that that sense of self is really empty, and this is how we learn to comprehend the ego―comprehending that no defect is intrinsically existing of itself. There’s always causes and conditions upon which is depends.
Spiritual Creation through Liberated Will
Nietzsche, who was a German initiate at one point, explains this teaching in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra, precisely the concepts we’ve been discussing. In this image we have the Iranian Prophet, Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism, holding in his right hand the staff of the initiates with a golden orb and serpent rotating around it. That serpent is the power of the Divine Mother and the staff represents the spinal column upon which the Kundalini rises in the teachings of alchemy, as we teach. What is interesting is that in his with his left hand, he’s performing in Buddhism what’s known as the vitarka mudra. Nietzsche is very famous for postulating in his book, the Doctrine of the Eternal Return, which we are going to be explaining.
Now, in Buddhism, this mudra, hand posture, is supposed to represent the transmission of a teaching from the Buddha, or from any buddha really. What is interesting is that we have a circle formed by our index finger and our thumb, which relates to the cycle of recurrence, or return. Then, with the three fingers, representing the three primary forces of nature, the power of Christ: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Or in Kabbalah: Kether, Chokmah, Binah. The trinity is the light of God that manifests from the Absolute, and it is through this trinity that we learn to create a spiritual life. These are not people, anthropomorphic figures, but energies. In order to overcome the wheel of samsara, or the wheel of becoming, the eternal return in the circle, we need to work with the three primary forces, which is what we do when we practice alchemy. Man and woman united, masculine, feminine, affirmative force, negative force, and then the sexual act, reconciliation, the synthesis, are the three forces in action. That is how we create spiritually. Nietzsche talks about this very beautifully in his book, particularly in the section called, “Upon the Blessed Isles”:
“Creation―that is the great redemption from suffering and life’s growing light. But that the creator may be, suffering is needed and much change. Indeed, there must be much bitter dying in your life, you creators. Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all impermanence.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
Creation is redemption from suffering. Meaning: to create the soul precisely through alchemy in the higher stages of the path. It is also “life’s growing light.” We generate light precisely by working with our sexual energy to create spiritually. But in order for the creator to be, we need to suffer, meaning, we need to willingly take on and be responsible for our own suffering, the causes of our own afflictions, to take responsibility for what we did in the past, in order to recognize our faults. Karma comes back at us for past actions, whether in this life or in previous lives, and we learn to take it with a sense of rectitude. Instead of complaining about it, we use it to see those egos that manifest within a given psychological circumstance, so that we can die in those defects. Indeed, “there must be much bitter dying in your life.” He didn’t say that the path to salvation is easy. Instead, we need to suffer a lot so that ego emerges that’s causing our suffering, and comprehend it in meditation so that we can annihilate it.
“Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all impermanence.” So the doctrine of impermanence― same thing Nietzsche is teaching here―is how nothing is stable in this universe. Everything is dependent on something else, and it is by recognizing the empty nature of phenomena that we cease to be so attached to external phenomena, so that our ego has less power over us. It is in that way, by comprehending the ego, that we annihilate it, gradually.
“To be the child who is newly born, the creator must also want to be the mother who gives birth and the pangs of the birth-giver. Verily, through a hundred souls I have already passed on my way, and through a hundred cradles and birth pangs.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
People who see that Nietzsche was an atheist at one point are mistaken. This is really teaching that, well, he’s been in many bodies, has been through many cradles and birth pangs.
“Many a farewell have I taken; I know the heart-rending last hours.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
Because at one point, before he deviated, he was developing a lot of understanding in himself. He remembered his past lives and was explaining these teachings about the return of all things.
“But thus my creative will, my destiny, wills it. Or, to say it more honestly: this very destiny―my will wills.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So what does this mean, “my creative will”?
Creation pertains to the trinity above. So the Kabbalah, if you look in this diagram, we have ten spheres, ten sephiroth. Above is the trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In the middle, in the center of the Tree of Life, we have the sphere known as Tiphereth, which is willpower. Creative will pertains to how Christ manifests within the soul, within the heart. Because if we take this image and transpose it on a human being, the middle sephirah, or sphere, relates to the heart, Tiphereth. So creative will, he’s speaking Kabbalistically, how the trinity, the will to create manifests within the soul, within the human psyche.
This is important to understand in relation to his teaching, “Thus, my creative will, my destiny wills it.” The fact is that he is entering this path, “Or, to say it more honestly: this very destiny―my will wills.” Most of us talk about destiny as its some kind of outside thing that is influencing us. Few people have really exemplified how with their own willpower they can create their destiny. Karma is not a blind law. It can be overcome. It can be reconciled if we are working in the right way.
Question: What’s the relationship between the two again? There must be a relationship. You talked about willpower and the heart, which sounds like mantra.
Instructor: In sexual knowledge, sexual alchemy.
Question: But it’s also, mantra would originate here?
Instructor: The word is gestated from the throat. In alchemy, when we combine, when we sexually unite with our partner, we pronounce sacred mantras. Our own Yesod, our own Tree of Knowledge, when a man and a woman are united forming the cross―Yesod, the energy of God, ascends up the spinal medulla as we find in this staff of Zarathustra, and the serpent is ascending as result of working with those fires. With mantra we work with our willpower and our heart, following the creative will of God, the trinity above, in order to create spiritual life. So that’s a Kabbalistic relationship to the body. It is working in this way that we overcome our destiny, our karma. We pay our karma with good deeds, by dying in those egos that are responsible for our mistaken actions.
“Whatever in me has feeling, suffers and is in prison; but my will always comes to me as my liberator and joy-bringer. Willing liberates: that is the true teaching of will and liberty―thus Zarathustra teaches it.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So how do we overcome our suffering? With our willpower, we take arms against a sea of troubles, meaning: we fight against our ego. We cease to be cyclically recurring and reenacting all those tragedies, dramas, and comedies of the past. We try to initiate a new way of life. Not living life mechanically, but transcending that wheel of suffering.
“Willing no more and esteeming no more and creating no more―oh, that this great weariness might always remain far from me! In knowledge too (in Da’ath, in Gnosis) I feel only my will’s joy in begetting and becoming; and if there is innocence in my knowledge, it is because the will to beget is in it.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So, what does it mean “In knowledge too, I feel only my will’s joy in creating”? Meaning: in alchemy, in tantra, in the sexual act, using it for purity, using it for God. One feels only the joy of creating the soul, “and if there is innocence in my knowledge,” meaning if there is innocence in Da’ath, “if there’s innocence in me working in alchemy, to perform the sexual act without lust,” “it is because of my joy of begetting and becoming.” The wheel of becoming, you know becoming is bhava, as we mention in the Bhavacakra. This is a way of becoming in a mechanical means, but we can also become something spiritual by transcending that wheel. Nietzsche says something also very interesting and controversial, like many things:
“Away from God and gods this will has lured me; what could one create if gods existed?” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
In us, God is not active. God is not manifested in our bodies. God is not incarnated, or better said, reincarnated. Instead, we have to create God within us. We have to create the development of the soul so that God, the Superman, can be creating through us.
Question: How do you reconcile that? I believe someone said it, perhaps you said it, we are all, since we’re part of God, which we’re sparks of the divine plane. The spark is still there!
Instructor: That’s the spark, but it’s not the bonfire. So that spark can be fed and developed into a bonfire. That bonfire is the lord, Christ. And so how can “one create a god if a god existed already?” And said, if you want to create a higher level of being, you need to develop that spark so it becomes a giant flame.
Question: So either you nurture it, or if you’re going to ascend, or if you destroy it, then...?
Instructor: Then that fire is extinguished in hell. We need to transcend this wheel of suffering, and in this next graphic we are going to talk about the solar bodies. In this image, we have an angel or Malachim. מלכים Malachim in Hebrew means “angels.” Malachim are kings. So, a king of nature is one who has conquered the animal state, the mineral state, the plant state, and even the humanoid state. What we are interested in these studies is to overcome our defects and the recurring cycles of life wherein we suffer mechanically, as a result, so that we can transcend those karmic situations and reconcile our past. That way we can initiate a new way of being.
Comment: That can be tricky too. I think in a way you have to analyze. You have to find your defects, but most of use at one point or another, we have certain desires. Then you have to qualify it perhaps as being not a good desire, and there’s a line.
Instructor: And its language. Desire, we say, is typically ego. But longing is the soul. Longing belongs to Habel, Abel, who follows the way of God. Cain is the desire of the mind to till the earth, and to fulfill material things. But in a poetic sense, we can say the soul has desire for God, like the Sufis teach. Now, we want to transcend our karma and enter into the path of what we call epigenesis. The ability to originate new circumstances because as Gurdjieff taught us, “Man does not know how to do.” Instead, we just repeat actions from the past. We don’t do anything new. We are like a train on a train track going one direction. But with effort we can divert that, and it is precisely by developing conscious will, to be in harmony with Christ, the trinity, is how we become, to beget, like Nietzsche says.
Epigenesis and the Solar Bodies
So we’re going to talk about the solar bodies, which I mention to you as the vehicles by which God can manifest and express. These pertain to the Tree of Life, Kabbalah, and pertain to what we call the astral body, the solar astral body, the solar mental body, the solar causal body, or solar emotional body, which can manifest superior emotions of God; solar mental body, that can manifest the abstract concepts and understanding of Christ; and the solar causal body, which is the body that can express the will of God, that can originate new causes. Samael Aun Weor states the following in Cosmic Teachings of a Lama:
“It is clear, obvious, and manifested that the clairvoyants from some pseudoesoteric and pseudo-occultist systems also become lamentably mistaken about this body [the causal body or body of conscious will]. This is due to the fact that they confuse the Essence with the causal body.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
So the Essence is the soul, but the causal body is the means by which the soul can act. Don’t mistake the person for the car, in synthesis.
“The Essence in itself is just a fraction of the human soul that is incarnated within ourselves. This Essence is bottled up within the ego; it is engulfed within the lunar bodies. It is unquestionable that the homunculi mistakenly called human being is submitted to the law of recurrence. He is not capable of originating anything new; he is a victim of circumstances.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
It is enough to really analyze our life to see if this is true. I mean, do we have control over whether we’re going to get yelled at or someone in the street is going to honk at us? Or are we going to get upset, by simple daily things that we think we have control of, but we don’t?
“Each time that the ego returns into this valley of Samsara it repeats exactly all of the acts of its previous lives, sometimes in elevated spirals, sometimes in lower spirals.
“In this day and age, within the cheap pseudo-occultism, much is spoken about the law of epigenesis, the capacity for originating new circumstances.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
This is when Nietzsche talks about creative will, to create something new within oneself.
“It is obvious that only the authentic human beings with conscious will can modify their destiny and originate a new order of things. The intellectual animal has not built the body of conscious will, the causal vehicle. The wretched, rational homunculi is always a victim of the eternal laws of return and recurrence... We need to create the causal body if what we sincerely want is to incarnate the Being (God within). Only the Being is capable of doing. Only He can modify the circumstances and exercise with mastery the law of epigenesis.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
We say that in order to escape, we can say, the limitations of 108 lifetimes, or humanoid existences, we can create the solar astral body, in a marriage, in alchemy, so that we are submitted to superior laws. Therefore, we’re not necessarily limited to having 108 existences to do this work. Instead we transcend that law.
Reincarnation: Divine Manifestation within the Consciousness
In order to incarnate God, we need to create the solar bodies, the causal body, specifically. This is beautifully represented in the life of Jesus. You’ll see in this next image we have John the Baptist, baptizing the master Jesus, the Christ. So really, reincarnation, we can say in context, in this lecture, pertains to when God manifests in the soul, to incarnate. It does not mean entering into new bodies. That is return, but reincarnation is an act of will, an act of creation, in which God, decidedly, decides to perform a mission within a certain human being and enters into that soul that has created those bodies.
Think of the solar bodies as a type of electric circuitry that can manifest high voltage. If you have poor wiring and you send a tremendous volt of energy through that circuitry, it’ll fuse. It will break. Christ is an energy and can only manifest in the circuitry of a human being that has those vehicles, because if the Being were to try to enter into a person with just the lunar bodies, with a lot of ego involved in it, that human being would be annihilated instantly, because Christ is the energy of life, the cosmos.
So in order to reincarnate the Being, we need to work on initiation. We need to work on sexual alchemy, which is described in The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of The Golden Flower. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Mystery of The Golden Flower:
“Reincarnation is a feat accomplished only by the great illuminated souls, in which they consciously choose to be born in a particular time and place…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of The Golden Flower
In other words, they choose to incarnate the Being in a new physical body. Only beings with conscious development can do this.
“The word reincarnation is most demanding, it must not be used carelessly: No one would be able to reincarnate without first having eliminated the ego, without truly possessing sacred Individuality. Incarnation is a very venerable word, signifying in fact the re-embodiment of the divine in a man.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of The Golden Flower
And we find this scripturally stated in Book of John, Chapter 1 verse 14
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” –John 1:14
Then, the book of Matthew:
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ―Matthew 3:16-17
The waters refer to the sexual waters, in which the Holy Spirit can baptize the energy of God. So the incarnation of Jesus, the Christ within Jesus, is an act of reincarnation, but also many masters have incarnated the Christ. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Jesus was the only one. Because in fact, Muhammad, received the Qur’an upon Jabal al-Nur, the mountain of light in the Muslim tradition. He received the teachings from Gabriel, meaning he incarnated his inner law, his inner Qur’an [Arabic for “recitation,” the Word] from the Angel Gabriel, and Gabriel relates to procreation, the forces of the moon, the sexual energy. But also, Krishna also incarnated with Arjuna within the Bhagavad-Gita.
Question: What about Buddha?
Buddha is a great master who incarnated Christ. Zarathustra, many masters, they incarnated that fire because they entered into initiation and developed those bodies. Here we have the Bhagavad-Gita, where Arjuna, who represents the solar causal body, is speaking to the Christ, Krishna. There’s a couple more things we’ll explain in relation to the nature of these paths as we discussed, in accordance with Hinduism.
I would like to give you two phrases, first, specifically, explain two paths as we’ve been mentioning. Krishna stated the following to Arjuna,
“The Being is not born, does not die, nor does it reincarnate; it has no origin; it is eternal and changeless; it is the first of all, and does not die when the body passes away.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 2:20
Now this would seem to contradict the following statement:
“…As one sets aside worn out clothes and puts on new ones, so the embodied Being leaves its spent body and enters other new ones.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 2:22
Now what is interesting is that they seem to contradict. The Being doesn’t incarnate, but it does incarnate within certain beings.
What is not explicitly stated in the Bhagavad-Gita, or at least clearly, esoterically, is how when one follows a path of initiation, one incarnates the Being. But in lunar people, people with lunar bodies, they do not incarnate the Being. Those two paths are open there. The solar path, extending up the path of revelation to God, or the lunar path of being swallowed by nature. Now actually, the Bhagavad-Gita does explain this, but it elaborates upon this point,
“Upon leaving the body, taking the path of the fire, of the light, of the day, of the luminous lunar fortnight and of the northern solstice, those who know Brahma, go towards Brahma. Upon death, the yogi who takes the path of smoke of the dark Lunar fortnight and of the southern solstice, reaches the Lunar sphere (the astral world) and is then reborn (returns, re-embodies). These two paths, the luminous and the dark, are considered permanent. Through the first, one is emancipated, and through the second, one is reborn (returns).” ―Bhagavad-Gita 8:24-26
So in the solar path we incarnate God, but in the lunar path we continue to rotate in samsara, in synthesis.
“When the Lord (the Being) acquires a body, or leaves it, He associates with the six senses, or abandons them and passes like the breeze which carries with it the scent of flowers. Directing the ears, the eyes, the organs of touch, taste and smell as well as the mind, He experiences the objects of the senses. The deluded do not see Him who departs, stays and enjoys; but they who possess the eye of knowledge behold Him.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 15:8-10
Those who are not familiar with reincarnation, should study the Bhagavad-Gita. Specifically, I’d like to quote for you what reincarnation really means, as according to the Hindu gospel, we can say:
“The supreme personality of God (which is Vishnu, or Krishna, speaking to Arjuna) said: “Many, many incarnations both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy! (Meaning: subduer of his own egos). Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I incarnate dominating my Prakriti and appear in my original transcendental form; serving my self of my own maya. Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion―at that time I descent Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of Religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium. One who knows the transcendental nature of my appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My external abode, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita 4:5-9
So Christ only incarnates within an initiate. Reincarnation only occurs within the Gods. People, we, common human persons, human beings, we can say out of polite and respect, we just return. We don’t reincarnate. We don’t remember where we came from or where we’re going.
Question: Do we have lunar bodies?
We have lunar vehicles and we are subjected to the laws of nature, but we need to develop the solar bodies so that we can transcend this wheel of suffering.
Those who incarnate God are not recognized as God we can say. Those who incarnate the Christ, people don’t see the Christ, even though many times we may have walked past such a being. The first stage in the Bhagavad-Gita, when the Lord, the Being, acquires the body, or leaves it, he associates with the six senses, or abandons them and passes like the breeze, which carries with it the scent of flowers, directly in the ears, the eyes, the organs of touch, taste, and smell, as well as the mind. He experiences the objects, the senses. The diluted do not see him who departs, stays and enjoys. But they who possess the eye of knowledge, gnosis, Da’ath, only they behold him.
Nietzsche’s Eternal Return
We need to incarnate the Being if we want to be liberated from suffering, if we want to attain a higher state of perception. We’ve been explaining what reincarnation means in context in terms of return and recurrence, studying the Pythagorean teachings, as well as the Muslim teachings of Rumi, and a little bit of Nietzsche. I’d actually like to conclude with the teachings of the eternal return as given by Nietzsche. I think its especially relevant to this discussion, since just as we mentioned the teachings of the Hindustani master, Krishna, the very same things that the German philosopher Nietzsche talked about are in the Bhagavad-Gita, or taught by Pythagoras, or taught in Buddhist doctrine, and the points that he makes are very poetic and beautiful. I think they will be very beneficial for you to hear. I’m going to read for you exactly what Nietzsche taught in his book about the eternal return, accompanied next to Jesus, of course. In this chapter, I’m not going to read the entirety. It is called “On the Vision and the Riddle,” where the fictional Zarathustra, the Iranian prophet, is speaking to a group of sailors about a vision he had, meaning: an astral experience.
“Not long ago, I walked gloomily through the deadly pallor of dusty―gloomy and hard, with lips pressed together. Not only one sun had set for me. A path that ascended defiantly through stones, malicious, lonely, not cheered by herb or shrub―a mountain path crunched under the defiance of my foot.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Now a mountain in esoterism refers to initiation, to ascend up the mountain, the path that leads to God, the Superman. It is only attempted by those who are defiant, meaning: his step is crushing the stones defiantly in order to go up, seemingly against the forces of gravity.
“Striding silently over the mocking clatter of pebbles, crushing the rock that made it slip, my foot forced its way upward. Upward―defying the spirit that drew it downward toward the abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and arch enemy. Upward―although he sat on me, half dwarf, half mole, lame, making lame, dripping lead into my ear, leaden thoughts into my brain.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
This is the ego telling us we can’t enter into initiation. It’s always telling us things.
“’Oh Zarathustra,’ he whispered mockingly, syllable by syllable, ‘You philosopher’s stone! You threw yourself up high, but every stone that is thrown must fall.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So what he’s talking about is the philosopher’s stone. The stone relates to alchemy, the secret of Yesod, the foundation stone of Solomon’s temple, which is the sexual energy, our body is the temple, and our stone is the sexual energy.
This is talking about how, like many initiates, he tried to throw his stone up, to take that stone up the mountain, to return it to God, so that he can finally unite with the Being, the Superman. But the ego is always there saying, “You threw your stone up high. You can’t follow this path. You’re going to drop your stone like Sisyphus.” Meaning: you’re going to let yourself fall sexually, fall to animal passion, desire.
“’Oh Zarathustra, you philosopher’s stone, you slingstone, you star-crusher. You threw yourself up so high; but every stone that is thrown must fall. Sentenced to yourself and to your own stoning―O Zarathustra, far indeed have you thrown the stone, but it will fall back on yourself.’
“Then the dwarf fell silent, and that lasted a long time. His silence, however, oppressed me; and such twosomeness is surely more lonesome than being alone.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So being alone with our own negative mind, thoughts, is really more lonely than being alone, we can say―being with other people.
“I climbed, I climbed, I dreamed, I thought; but everything oppressed me. I was like one sick whom his wicked torture makes weary, and who as he falls asleep is awakened by a still more wicked dream. But there is something in me that I call courage; that has so far slain my every discouragement. This courage finally made me stand still and speak, ‘Dwarf! It is you or I! […] ‘But I am the stronger of us two: you do not know my abysmal thought. That, you could not bear.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
What does it mean abysmal thought? The fact that he wants to descend into his own hell in order to take the stone up the mountain, because our soul is trapped in hell. We need to liberate it through our creative will.
“Then something happened that made me lighter, for the dwarf jumped from my shoulder, being curious; and he crouched on a stone before me. But there was a gateway just where we stopped.
“‘Behold, this gateway, dwarf!’ I continued, ‘It has two faces. Two paths meet here; no one has yet followed either to its end. This long lane stretches back for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is another eternity. They contradict each other, these paths; they offend each other face to face; and it is here at this gateway that they come together. The name of the gateway is ascribed above: ‘Moment.’ But whoever would follow one of them, on and on, farther and farther―do you believe, dwarf, that these paths can contradict each other eternally?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So, Krishna said there are two paths: the solar path that leads to Brahma, and the lunar path that leads down, backward. These are the two paths that Nietzsche is talking about, and that eternally they go on. This constant drama of souls within the universe is always repeated, is eternal.
Question: Is he using the force of Tiphereth to carry Hod?
Instructor: Yes, and that’s willpower. Zarathustra is willpower. He says “my courage is what conquers. My creative will. My destiny wills it.”
"’All that is straight, lies.,’ the dwarf murmured contemptuously. ‘All truth is crooked; time itself is circle.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Albert Einstein said our illusions of linear time are illusory. Time itself is a circle. Eternity is a circle. Nothing goes on from one trajectory to another. It’s really a cycle, cyclical.
“‘You spirit of gravity,’ I said angrily, ‘do not make things too easy for yourself! Or I shall let you crouch where you are crouching, lamefoot; and it was I that carried you to this height.
“‘Behold,’ I continued, ‘this moment! From this gateway, Moment, a long, eternal lane leads backward: Behind us lies an eternity. Must not whatever can walk have walked in this lane before? Must not whatever can happen have happened, have been done before, have passed by before? And if everything has been there before―what do you think, dwarf, of this moment? Must not this gateway too have been there before? And are not all things knotted together so firmly that this moment draws after it all that is to come? Therefore―itself too? For whatever can walk, in this long lane out there too, it must walk once more.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
This is referencing to the fact that many individuals have walked the path of initiation before but they fell. Though they are trying to rise up again, they had crushed their star, were “star-crushers,” meaning: they killed the perfection of their Ain Soph Paranishpanna, their supra-atomic star, within themselves. So they have walked this path many times before. It happens.
“‘And this slow spider, which crawls in the moonlight, and this moonlight itself, and I and you in the gateway whispering together, whispering of eternal things―must not all of have been there before? And return and walk in that other lane out there, before us, in this long dreadful lane―must not we eternally return?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
If we are in this type of classroom, it means that we’ve probably studied this science before. I remember having an experience with my Innermost in the astral plane. He told me, “97% of the people you meet you knew them before.” This is because 97% of our psyche is ego, according to Samael Aun Weor, so this is something I verified.
“Thus I spoke, more and more softly; for I was afraid of my thoughts and the thoughts behind my thoughts. Then suddenly I heard a dog howl nearby. Had I ever heard a dog howl like this? My thoughts raced back. Yes, when I was a child, in the most distant childhood: then I heard a dog howl like this. And I saw him too, bristling his head up, trembling, in the stillest midnight when even dogs believed in ghosts―and I took pity: for just then the full moon, silent as death, passed over the house; just then it stood still, a round glow―still on the flat roof, as if on another’s property―that was why the dog was terrified, for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts. And when I heard such howling again, I took pity again.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So, what is the moon referencing? The lunar path, the path of devolution, the path of the destruction of the soul within hell. So, it haunts us. Those who are really seeking to know God, to set up the path to Christ, we suffer because the moon is always haunting us.
“Where has the dwarf gone now? And the gateway? And the spider? And all the whispering? Was I dreaming then? Was I waking up?” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
“Was I experiencing these things directly in meditation?”
“Among wild cliffs I stood suddenly alone, bleak, in the bleakest moonlight. But there lay a man. And there―the dog, jumping, brisling, whining―now he saw me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I saw―I had never seen the like. A young shepherd I saw, writhing, gagging, in spasms, his face distorted, and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth. Had I ever seen so much nausea and pale dread on one face? He seemed to have been asleep when the snake crawled into his throat, and there bit itself fast. My hand toward the snake, and tore in vain; it did not tear the snake out of his throat.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
What is this snake afflicting the shepherd, the initiate? It is the devolving serpent of hell that is our own sexual animal passion, which pushes us to fornicate, to be like animals.
“Then it cried out to me: ‘Bite! Bite its head off! Bite!’ Thus it cried out of me―my dread, my hatred, my nausea, my pity, all that is good and wicked in me cried out of me with a single cry.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Zarathustra was then speaking to the sailors:
“‘You bold ones who surround me! You searchers, you researchers, and whoever among you has embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas. You who are glad of riddles. Guess me this riddle that I saw then, interpret me the vision of the loneliest. For it was a vision and a forseeing. What did I see then in a parable,” in an astral experience, you could say? “And who is it who must yet come one day? Who is the shepherd into whose throat the snake crawled thus? Who is the man into whose throat all that is heaviest and blackest will crawl thus?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So it is that shepherd, Christ.
Nietzsche didn’t use the term Christ, because Christianity is degenerated. People worship a statue and not the terrible reality of the Intimate Christ, the Rebel Christ, the Superhuman. He talks about Superman. A Superman is an individual who has fully perfected God within, manifesting the three sephirah above: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, within the heart, the human soul. A shepherd, like the keeper of sheep, pertains to the one who is walking the path of initiation. But this is the Superman who takes on our own evil to annihilate it.
Question: That’s Abel, right?
Instructor: Habel relates to that, but this is even beyond Habel. This is Christ.
“The shepherd, however, bit as my cry counseled him; he bit with a good bite.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Meaning with the mouth, or with the throat, the science of Da’ath, we kill the snake that is leading us into hell. We conquer animal passion.
“Far away he spewed the head of the snake―and he jumped up. No longer shepherd, no longer human―one changed, radiant, laughing! Never yet on earth has a human being laughed as he laughed. Oh, my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no human laughter...” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Meaning because it was a superhuman laughter, God, terribly divine, beyond good and evil.
“…and now a thirst gnaws at me, a longing that never grows still. My longing for this laughter gnaws at me; oh, how do I bear to go on living? And [yet], how could I bear to die now?
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
He’s talking about how Christ, the Superman, really, incarnates in the human being, to fully eliminate the ego. That is the path of reincarnation.
Questions and Answers
Question: That symbolism is really something else. I would wonder what Carl Jung, I don’t think he was mentioned anywhere, and he’s very much into symbolism, the subconscious mind… I wonder if that scenario, so to speak, that scenario you just were talking about, I wonder if Jung had made any?
Instructor: Well, I don’t know too much about Jung, but I know that many of the German initiates knew each other. Rudolph Steiner was the disciple of Nietzsche. Nietzsche was the disciple of Richard Wagner, who is a great master. They were all interrelated, and they all knew each other. They taught the doctrine of the Superman.
In conclusion, we seek to escape the laws of return and recurrence by developing our will in harmony with Christ, so we can kill the snake that tempts us into sin, which is our own inverted sexual fires, which we need to tame like Moses did, or we need to work with the positive serpent―the cross, as mentioned in Exodus, the bronze serpent that healed the Israelites in the wilderness.
Question: That was the negative serpent you are talking about?
Instructor: The negative serpent that the shepherd bit, that was the inverted aspect, the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve.
Comment: It is interesting, its like a sign, from when I read from Scorpio, they talk about the good and the eagle, which is sacred. They refer to the serpent as the negative one: “Get out of the way!”
Instructor: It is dual like the serpent Kundalini that Moses raised on the staff in the wilderness. The cross of man and woman, or the bronze serpent, the two metals of copper, representing woman, and tin, representing man, sexually united, and when that serpent is controlled, the energy is harnessed. The bronze serpent rises up the spine and can heal the Israelites. The serpent then that Nietzsche talks about is in the negative aspect. But in the beginning, and many times in that book, he mentions the positive serpent that works with the eagle―the serpent that rises up the spinal column, Kundalini, and the eagle’s wings flourish and take one up to the Absolute.
Question: So the bronze serpent, or I’ve always heard that Moses just healed the Israelites, but what about being bit by serpents?...
Instructor: Yes, exactly, thank you for bringing that up. The other serpents, there were fiery serpents that were biting the Israelites and causing them pain. Those fiery serpents are all of our animal passions that afflict us: anger, pride, vanity―as we’ve been mentioning, the ego, the inverted fire. And the only way to heal that ailment is to work with the solar serpent, the bronze serpent, in order to heal the Israelites. The Israelites are not just, in the Bible, a reference to people in the past, in the Middle East. It refers to archetypes, symbols, parts of us that we need to liberate and free. The same serpents that were biting the Israelites were biting the Superman, but the superman just bit it up, spat it out, and laughed. That is something only a god can do. And we all have God within―we need to reincarnate Him within us, to escape the return and recurrence of all things. Any questions?
Comment: Just a comment on epigenesis, the ability to change ourselves. It can be correlated to physicality, too. You know, in the medical community, there is compelling evidence, that through, one example, physical activity versus drug ages, we can change our genetic expressions. If someone has a pronation toward some disease, that can be halted, inhibited. Now, this was always possible, but as I was listening actively and such, I’m thinking Jesus and Moses could’ve had smartphones, but they were just not at that point in time where it wasn’t known, or you know the laws were not exact in such a way, or realized in such a way, that they couldn’t have smartphones. It was just impossible.
Instructor: They had much better communication than our smartphones. I mean, if you meet a Superman like that in the internal planes, really, they are incomprehensible to us. But it is true that genetically our actions can affect our genes, and our genes are the inheritors of karma. The very physical body that we have, our tendencies, our habits, our illnesses that reoccur cyclically, are in our genes. And those genes are formulated as a result of our karma, our past actions. Now we want to perform positive action in order to rectify that. That is a good point because it is by changing ourselves psychologically that we change our genes. We have many practices in this tradition where we work with energy, like alchemy, in which the genes change. The genes of an intellectual animal is what we are. We can change into the genes of a Superman or superwoman, basically.
Comment: Bruno Gröning, not sure if you have heard of him, but he is from Germany. Died in 1953. But he talked about an agent. It was Heilstrom, he called it. It is the prana and everything. That is what they were emphasizing. If you could get a nice state away, you could bring this force into your body through the bread. They have had healings, and this group is international. I went to one of the meetings. It was packed. It was on River Road. They had a German interpreter and a lot of Polish people were there. He says its not that complicated. It’s spiritual. We were talking about spirituality, but they were doctors by the way, that were there from Europe. It was getting in that state… you mention the genes. They’re doing something, where they had healings. If they were able to get into that relaxed state, it was like prana basically. Heilstrom is what the Bruno Gröning calls it. But vital force, if you could concentrate it somehow…
Instructor: The greatest healing is to work with alchemy, in sexual union. But we have many methods in this tradition that work with healing methods as well, such as in a book called Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic. There are many other schisms and teachings and things that work. Some of the teachings that we work with are ancient, older than this universe really. They’re eternal.
Comment: I’ve reflected a little bit on what you said a minute ago, in regards to time and evolution of technology and things like that. The real technologies is regeneration and development of faculties. Because if you actually paid attention to the New Testament, where its talking about the life of Jesus, he’s going around telepathically understanding what people are thinking, saying, “I saw you over there in the bushes with that woman, and you’re not going to stone her to death today,” and that sort of thing―communication. So, something like cell phones, would be completely irrelevant, obsolete. Because if someone had developed the kind of faculties like Jesus had, you wouldn’t need something like that. So time frame and time relevant, it’s something that ancient history had better technology than we did and we just don’t understand that fully yet.
Instructor: And I remember one of our other instructors mentioned, we have a technology better than Google inside. That’s meditation. We can investigate anything we need to.
Question: Going back to what you were saying, with karma. If a couple, the woman, had been an adulterer, then in the next life that same couple, that man would do the same thing? I’m just so confused by what, and I’ve already talked to you about this, by what in the person who was the victim the first time, what in the next life makes them know that they should do that? And then are they following God’s will by doing that?
Instructor: It is not God’s will. It is our own self will. The one that commits adultery and decides to do that is the ego. Particularly, the ego in a person, or, typically in our case, we’re compelled by so many egos and forces that we have no cognizance of the fact. We don’t see how we are just performing the same dramas, comedies, tragedies, that we’ve been doing for many lifetimes. It’s not God’s will. God does not say to us, “Okay, now you have to commit adultery to the other person.” This superior law, in fact, that person, if the couple is Gnostic, knows this science and is working, when those egos emerge that are of an adulterer’s nature, and that will happen with every couple―where certain karmic recurrences happen where partners from a past life come to one’s forefront in order to test us and tempt us. The law is testing us, is saying, “Do you want to follow the superior path or the inferior path?” If we give into our adulterer’s ego and we commit adultery, then we fail. But the couple that’s working Gnostically speaking, takes advantage of those circumstances in order to gain comprehension. Then those egos are annihilated and there’s greater love in the couple. It’s an ordeal Samael Aun Weor calls the Direne Ordeal in the book called The Three Mountains.
Question: Well, it is because you said that it has to do that to reach equilibrium. So say a Gnostic couple experiences that and that had happened in a past life, and then the woman transcends that, and does not act on that ego, are things out of whack?
Instructor: No, things are reconciled. In terms of balance, there’s an inferior way and a superior way. If we try to relate it to physics, if you punch a punching bag, it is going to move, then it will come back at you. So that force has to come back. Now, whether we decide to continue punching and foiling at it, that’s the problem. If you just punch it once and the force comes back to you, you grab it, and can hold it still. You comprehend that, well, you are too tired to keep up the monotony of hitting the bag and want to stop. In the same way, you realize that you can’t continue feeding those egos. When you comprehend that, you stop propelling that karma.
Comment: Because if you did punch it again, then it would have to come back and repeat the same thing over and over.
Instructor: Exactly. It is going to repeat, and to do that is to suffer and continue along that cycle of samsara.
Question: I have a question. You mentioned at the beginning of the lecture, a little bit about how, as you said, teachings on return, recurrence, reincarnation, sort of the whole subject matter here is taken, maybe not so much Western, but Christianity. Are there any examples of that you can elaborate or allude to? The only thing I can think of offhand is years ago, when I read the Old Testament and Book of Job in particular, and other scant places, in the Old and New Testaments, but particularly in the Book of Job, certain passages, led me to sort of see the possibility that Job, or the ones he was associating with had a notion of God…
Instructor: Yeah, that relates to recurrence. I’m speaking specifically about the doctrine of transmigration: the soul entering into different bodies. Now we have remnants of that in the Christian doctrine where the man who is possessed by many devils, those taking place in the souls of the bodies of pigs. It refers exactly to what I was referring to in relation to when we reincorporate into a new body, certain egos that are definitely criminal have to be taken out of us and put into different bodies like trees, animals, plants, cats, or dogs, or different beasts, to enter into devolution, as a type of mercy. The one who does that is Christ.
Also, Christ referred to John the Baptist as the return or reincarnation of Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14). You can also reference the return of Elijah in Malachi 4:5-6.
Comment: I rarely think of it in that context, because we think of casting out of demons and going somewhere else, on another level that’s like talking to…
Instructor: On one psychological level, it pertains to how we need to clean our temple. On another hand it talks about how certain psychological elements can reincorporate into animals. And its in the Bible, but people don’t really read deeply into it. Now, in Christianity, we find that a lot of things were taken out of the Bible, like Mary Magdalene’s role with Jesus as his wife―things of that nature―that he practiced alchemy with her.
Question: Not long ago I studied some of that with my father.
Instructor: Yeah, in the Bible a lot of things were edited or taken out. But you find it more common, the doctrine of transmigration, you find a lot in Buddhism and Hinduism. I wanted to point out how Pythagoras, how even Nietzsche, talked about the same thing. But many scholars of Nietzsche are saying, “No, he didn’t talk about reincarnation or reincorporation.” But in esotericism it is very clear.
Instructor: Exactly. So, a lot of those scholars they don’t know anything about an esoteric doctrine. They interpret things in a very literal manner.
Comment: Just as an aside, in India, they use the cow, I think for healing too, where they bring people to the cow and they touch the cow.
Instructor: The cow represents the Divine Mother. And there even was a five-legged cow that was found in India that Blavatsky wrote about. Now the cow is a sacred symbol of the Divine Mother Kundalini. Even in the second surah of the Qur’an, you have Al-Baqarah, which means “The Cow,” which is the longest surah of the Qur’an, which traditionally, in the Muslim tradition, one would sing the Qur’an, to recite. Qur’an means “recitation.” The cow is really the power of the verb, the Divine Mother. The cow, like in the myth of Mithras slaying the bull, he stabbed the bull in the throat, meaning to conquer the animal passion you have to work with Daath, sexual alchemy to kill that beast, that devolving serpent. Also, the way we do that is with the cow, the Divine Mother. Now traditionally, they would say the cow was supposed to have five legs. There was a cow found with five legs, literally, in India. There are five aspects to the Divine Mother that I mentioned in the books that we have, which you can read more about. But the cows relates to Devi-Kundalini [see the lecture The Divine Mother from Beginning Self-Transformation].
Comment: The healing also…
Instructor: Exactly. And the way that we heal is by working with our cow, by mantralizing, by working with that sacred power, and like Mithras, killing the animal ego so that we can unite with God. Yes?
Comment: As I’m listening, don’t know if anyone has a frame of reference, preacher Dan was quite a famed Jesuit priest, based on Catholic order, known for his metaphysical pendants. I happen to get offered two tapes of his from his retreat, and its pretty profound. I mean back in 1955 on Easter Sunday, and its really good. The reader was saying how he was inhibited by the hierarchy of the church, that they actually did not want him to go and speak of these things because of the truth. Maybe they didn’t even know, I don’t know. But he was really held back and inhibited. And he had a message and here it is. Like in some cannon of knowledge somewhere, and I buy this tape, you know, about the cosmos and such.
Comment: Have you ever heard of Giordano Bruno? They burnt him to a crisp, the so-and-sos in the Vatican. This was during the Renaissance. He traveled all over Europe, and it was right along the same lines with this tape, same thing, only he was lucky. He was born 500 years before they would have burned him. They burnt Giordano Bruno and they burnt Savonarola.
Instructor: A lot of times, these were people, there were many initiates who had to keep silent about these things about return and reincarnation, especially within Christian doctrine, for fear of the Inquisition. It is a science that is well documented. Many of us don’t accept this at face value, but really investigate this understanding of our past lives, really investigate within meditation, but also in the astral plane. I remember, for instance, I was with the Master Samael Aun Weor in the astral plane, where I was trying to get help from him, and he kept telling me, “You need to remember your past lives.” And I was complaining, I was kind of whining that I don’t remember, and this was years ago. He said it doesn’t matter. You need to know your past lives now because it is going to tell you about your current situation. Everything we have physically now is a result of our relationship to the past. Yes?
Question: You said, alchemy must be completely absent of lust, but with so much ego isn’t it really hard to not even have like a lustful thought pop up?
Instructor: We want to strive to not have lust in the sexual act. In the beginning that is the way it is because we’re 97% ego.
Question: Is that a waste of energy then? When you avoid the fornication but you do have lustful thoughts that pop up?
Instructor: We have to work at our level. Wherever we’re at, we have to work at, we have to understand that we’re not going to be pure. We’re not going to perform the sexual acts like saints. We gradually train ourselves to do it like that. So in the beginning, yeah, there is a lot of lust. I would say practice in short increments to train the body and the mind. Then prolong the act so long as one can retain the energies.
Question: Do you have to be at the same level, spiritually, mentally, and spiritually? Because if one is more inclined to, you mentioned, the erotic order, then there’s no balance there. You have to be on the same…
Question: You mean the two people?
Comment: Because I was asking about that, and about a master who practiced with a non-believer and he rose. And she saw how he was glowing and said now I want to do this too. But I don’t think they need to be equal.
Instructor: What is important is that one has the potential to rise to the same level. But at the same time, we are at different levels of being. You can be very high up and your partner can be struggling. There are many stories about that with different initiates, but it really depends on our creative will, how we want to work on alchemy. If our partner is against it, but there’s still love there, we can work. And then by our example, the other person can want to rise to our level. Whether or not one is compatible that is another thing, capable of rising to the same level, basically speaking.
Question: We can save our partner through alchemy, right?
Instructor: Yes. This is exactly what Paul of Taurus has taught in the Bible. Disbelieving husband, how do you not know that your disbelieving wife can be saved? Or, wife, how do you not know that your disbelieving husband will not be saved? (1 Corinthians 7). It is by being a good example, by working with our creative will, is how we are going to change that.
Comment: And that’s a loving couple too.
Instructor: It’s a path of sacrifice. Of course, people think that alchemy, when people get married, “Oh, it’s going to be perfect and there’s going to be no problems.” People want to think like that, but it’s a crucifixion, one in which we can redeem ourselves.
Question: Well, then along with that, with sexual energy, she was talking about how if you practice all day and then go watch TV, you’ve wasted all the energy you’ve cultivated. So there’s a lot of other ways to waste that energy too, right?
Instructor: It depends on our psychological state and how we invest our energy into certain projects. So you can save a lot of energy in alchemy, but within a moment of anger, you say something really hateful, you lose all of that. It’s possible. The thing is to conserve the energy and restrain the mind. Because if we don’t restrain the mind, if we don’t have ethical discipline, then all the energy in the world is not going to save us. In fact, it will make us more destructive, which is symbolized by the centaurs who are in hell. They built solar bodies. They are half human, but have a lot of animal. They didn’t kill their ego entirely, so they fall there. It is very common.
Question: Is this from Nietzsche?
Instructor: Yeah, from what I know that happened with Nietzsche. He let himself fall intentionally.
Comment: That’s why he went crazy.
Comment: I was just going to say Rudolph Steiner, wrote about the centaurs, said they were highly intelligent and the natural science was ridiculous.
Instructor: The centaur is a symbol.
Comment: He said they came out of the universe and they made it with the daughters of men or something like that.
Instructor: He’s speaking symbolically, for people who don’t know kabbalah. When centaurs mated with daughters of men, it means certain initiates with solar bodies were mating with the ancient humanities, ancient phenomena that Samael Aun Weor talks about. Any more comments or questions? We’ll conclude.
Question: I have one. You mention briefly about spouses or someone you care about that’s suffering, and maybe they need more help. In eastern traditions there’s a lot of stories like in Buddhism, where a family member always burned incense for the Buddha or God or something like that, and then gave a special blessing for the person who, you know, was knee-deep in debt and that cleared a lot of it. There’s always certain things that can be done in that sort of thing, right?
Instructor: Well you know, we can say burning incense is helpful for our mental and emotional state. It doesn’t absolve karma. There are some people who think that doing certain things is going to liberate us, “Oh, if you sing this mantra a million times, 101 times, you’re going to absolve your karma.” It doesn’t work like that. It will help you adjust your mental state so that you can face your karma with more strength.
Question: Don’t the gods derive a great deal of ecstasy from being around that? Master Samael talks about having incense in your room and things like that. It draws the masters…
Instructor: Yeah, it attracts superior forces. I think it was mentioned in The Way of the Bodhisattva. We’ll conclude on this point, The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. Anyone who begins to walk this path of initiation, who is developing the soul within, the gods [buddhas] look at that and they favor that. They hail that individual, “Finally, another soul is entering into the stream of nirvana.”
Many times I have had experiences where I was with certain masters and they were pleased. Lighting incense helps with that. It accentuates. It strengthens one’s prayer. It is something you can verify internally that they’re helping. As soon as you’re working with sexual energy and you’re trying to restrain your mind, they come to you and they will guide you, internally. If there are no more comments and questions we will conclude. Thank you all for coming.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from The Secret Teachings of Opera, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
As evidenced by this great work of art, we will discover how Puccini, as a great master of Freemasonry, was an initiate of the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva: those who incarnate Christ in order to help humanity, to sacrifice for humanity.
His particular focus in his last work of art that he composed is to talk about the Divine Mother, as evidenced by the name Turandot, which reminds us of the Nordic runes. As we began this lecture, we practiced the Rune Ur, the mantra Ram-IO. Ur we find in TUR-andot, and the mantra Ram-IO is found with Ra and O, the vowels and syllables of this name.
Ur is light, the divine, which in heaven is known as Kundalini. But when that energy is channeled within the ego, it is Kundabuffer. This opera teaches us this precise duality of the nature of that divine force, which, once it is purified, liberates the soul. But when it is fed through desire, through fornication, it becomes the tempting serpent of Eden, which is something we find symbolized in the great dramas of this opera, particularly Act One, of which we are going to focus on today.
Even the name Turandot, syllabically reminds us of תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul. Ur or אוֹר Aur is light in Hebrew: תִּפְ-אֶוֹרֶ-ת Tiph-aur-ret. That name begins with the Hebrew letter ת Tav and ends in ת Tav: the Seal of God, the covenant, the pact of sexual magic which unites the brave heroes, the great warriors who are willing to answer three riddles, in order to marry the divine Princess Turandot, the Hebrew Shekinah of the Kabbalists.
So the human soul must incarnate the light, אוֹר Aur, or as we find in the Rune Ur, we pray, "Oh Divine Mother of mine, oh Isis of mine. You have the child Horus, my true Being within your arms." And what is that true being Horus? It is a symbol of Christ because the Divine Mother is the mother of Christ. We find in this opera by Puccini the Path of the Bodhisattva, of the incarnation of Christ, the path of sacrifice, in which the great heroes overcome trials and temptations in order to marry, to be purified within the Divine Mother.
As we find in that prayer, “You carry my true Being within your arms. I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.” Three times, three riddles, three forces, which we find in the Christian trinity, which is a number in the tarot that we find repeated often in this opera, not only in its structure of three acts, but also three questions that the hero must answer in order to be liberated, to marry or self-realize the divine.
We will be talking about the tarot in depth in this explanation of the opera Turandot.
Death and Immortality
This Arcanum 13 we discussed previously. Immortality is the profound core of this opera, because we find in the first act of Turandot that anyone who wishes to marry Shekinah, the Divine Mother, must answer three riddles. If he fails in any one of them, he must die, which is a symbol of how one loses one's soul if one fails in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, because the work against the elimination of the ego is very difficult, very painful, very challenging.
But if we are faithful to our Divine Mother Death, She will give us a crown of life, immortality, perfection, because in order to marry or self-realize the Divine Mother, Binah in Kabbalah, the Holy Spirit or אם אלהים Aima Elohim, the feminine aspect of the Holy Ghost, we as a soul must be dead to the ego. The ego must not exist. In order to reach that point, we have to answer three riddles, which are symbols that we will be covering in Act Two.
But Arcanum 13 is a profound teaching that Puccini knew very well and depicted so beautifully in his work. Samael Aun Weor mentions in The Aquarian Message that many operas existed in relation to the mysteries of the tarot, as well as the 13th Arcanum, which is why he explains how in the 13 Arcanum, one faces what are known as the funereal ordeals, and that opera has been used to depict that path of the death of desire.
"The funeral ordeals of the thirteenth arcanum developed as a profound opera within the great archaic mysteries. The austere hierophants of the great mysteries rose from within the old sepulchers of ancient times." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Because who are those austere hierophants? Austere meaning “severe,” masters of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, reminding us of severity, justice. And on the right pillar we find mercy. These two pillars of Kabbalah of the Tree of Life resonate within the dramas and symbols of this opera. But these hierophants are those who master, precisely, the left pillar of the Tree of Life, the serpent Ida.
Remember that we have two serpents in our spine: the solar and the lunar serpents. Pingala and Ida, Adam-Eve, male-female, ו Vav and ז Zayin. That left serpent in most people has fallen because it has descended, down the Chakra Muladhara through the coccyx, to form what is known as the tail of demons within the astral body. That is the tempting serpent that any initiate must overcome through the death of desire.
“The old operas of the thirteenth arcanum resounded with their ineffable melodies in the terrifying night of the centuries within the subterranean caverns of the Earth." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
Some people read this statement very literally, not understanding that Samael Aun Weor spoke in a very kabbalistic way, because these operas of the 13th Arcanum, they resound within this Kali Yuga, this age of darkness we live in, in order to teach those souls who are demonic, the path of the light―the straight path. We find that these operas resound within the subterranean caverns of the Earth.
And what are these caverns the Earth? People like to think that the Master Samael literally meant underground somewhere, where some operas are being portrayed, but the meaning is much more symbolic. We are in מלכות Malkuth, but we also know from our studies that our sephirah Malkuth is submerged within the inferior laws of Klipoth, within negative infra-dimensions, which is why in certain cities like Chicago, New York, L.A., we find tremendous degeneration.
We are within the caverns of the Earth, because we are in the abyss, even when physically active. Because we find that those inferior qualities, laws of the infernal dimensions have surfaced, but symbolically, we are in the caves. We are in the darkness. And so, Turandot is an opera that resounds, with its symbolism of the 13th Arcanum, within the caverns of the Earth, which are the opera houses.
When we recognize the ineffable melodies that portray the teachings of Christ, we become filled with awe, inspiration, remembrance, so that we become inspired to work. And precisely, this opera is a tool for initiates, to remind them and to teach them what they must do if they want to succeed. It is through the mysteries of this opera of the 13th Arcanum, is how we rise from the sepulchers, like the austere hierophants of ancient ages, because through the teachings of this opera, we learn to overcome death. Not only psychologically, or better said, spiritually, but also physically through the path of resurrection, of reunion, of return to the divine.
In order to talk about this opera, we have to repeatedly refer to the Tree of Life, because there are many characters in places that are symbolized by the teachings of the Tree of Life. Each character is a different sephirah, a different aspect of the soul. And likewise, the multi-dimensionality of the Tree of Life teaches us how to interpret where we are in the opera, where the soul is and what it must do.
The Opening of Act I
So the opera begins with tremendous clamor, tumult, amongst the people of Peking, as an executioner of the law, the tribunal of divine justice, pronounces the following prophetic and deadly words:
“Any man of noble blood who desires to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.”
If we want to marry the Divine Mother Turandot, we must become an initiate, a man born of noble blood. What does it mean to be a human being? It means to reach mastery on the Tree of Life.
We talk about five initiations of fire that lead to the creation of the human being by raising the Kundalini serpent from the body of Malkuth within its spine, from the Chakra Muladhara to the brain―likewise with the vital body, יְסוֹד Yesod; the astral body, הוד Hod; the mental body, נצח Netzach; and תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the causal body. At that point one can say he has become a true human being, a man of noble blood.
But that is not enough, because one could reach mastery, reach that level Tiphereth, the center of the Tree of Life, and yet, it is another thing to reach perfection in mastery through the straight path of the Bodhisattvas.
In order to reach that point, one must achieve what is called the Buddhist annihilation, the death of the ego, in a complete sense. Right now, we are in Malkuth, and to use the terms of Freemasonry, of which Puccini was very familiar, we are imitatus, souls that imitate the works and lives of the great masters, the adeptus, the adepts. To become an adept, which is a master of the Fifth Initiation of Major Mysteries, we could say an adeptus minor, Tiphereth, we have to answer three riddles, which of course relate to how we work with the three brains, the three mother letters of Kabbalah: א Aleph, ש Shin, and מ Mem, which spell השם Hashem: the Name, which if we take the letter א Aleph and pronounce it as a letter ה Hei, השם Hashem, we spell the sacred name of God or the sacred appellation from the Name: יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah.
So in the beginning of this opera, we have an executioner who provides some context for why Peking is in chaos. It is also important to note that within the writings of Samael Aun Weor, he explains that in the tribunal of justice within the superior worlds, there are executioners.
What is that tribunal of justice represented in this opera? We find by the holy city of China, the divine, which if you look on the Tree of Life, we find that there are different places mapped out here. China, the kingdom of Turandot, represents the Far East, the top trinity of the Tree of Life. It is important to recognize that when we look at the directions of this vertical glyph, we can transpose the four directions of any compass onto this glyph.
We know that Tiphereth is where the sun rises, which is the solar logos. Tiphereth is governed by Venus and the Sun. The Sun rises in the East in Tiphereth. Therefore it is the East. To go further is to reach the Far East, which is China: כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah. We know that Binah or the feminine aspect of Binah is known as אם אלהים Aima Elohim, as I said, the Divine Mother Kundalini.
The West is where the Sun sets towards Malkuth, but also towards the infra-dimensions where the darkness of the mind exists. The West is towards what is known as the Tartarus, which is the opening of our opera. We could also say is the city of Peking, because in the opening of this great drama, we see there is tremendous chaos. There are crowds pushing against each other, screaming out in agony, suffering incredibly. That is hell. We begin this opera within the abyss. As you remember from the opening of this lecture, we talked about how the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the abyss.
Just as we find that statement from Samael Aun Weor, we find that a great executioner of the law, a divine being, speaks to those multitudes of demons, that “If you wish to escape your fate within the infra-dimensions, you must answer three riddles. You must be of noble blood, an initiate. By answering those riddles, you will marry Turandot.” You will leave the West, which is the abyss, and enter towards China, the Far East, to marry the divine princess.
But of course, very few take that path. Very few aspire to unite with Christ, which is why in the beginning of the opera, you find that there is only one person who is willing to do so amongst the majority of people, of which we will be talking about in brief. He is the prince whose name is not given until the very end of the opera in Act Three. But it is important to remember that in order to escape Peking, Tartarus, the abyss, we must become initiates. We must answer the riddles and ascend the Tree of Life.
The initiate who does not die to the ego, who fails in those three ordeals―relating to how we work against the ego in the three brains: the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain―if we fail in those trials and ordeals in the struggle against the elimination of our defects, it means that we cannot marry [self-realize] the Divine Mother. We fail like the Prince of Persia, who failed the ordeals and is executed in this act.
Kundalini above, Kundabuffer below. We notice that from the chorus of people in the opera, there are people who praise Turandot, but also fear her. This is why Samael Aun Weor said that “The Divine Mother is the terror of love and law.” Above she is heavenly, but down in the abyss, she is the tempting serpent that leads the lost souls, the demons, into the path of devolution.
The three principal characters we are introduced to in the beginning of this opera, his name is never given. His name is Timur. He is the father of the prince, who is the Prince Calaf. Timur is the exiled king of Tartary, and we find that he is with his faithful servant, Liu, before they reunite with their Prince Calaf, who is the son of Timur.
Timur is related to Tartary. He is exiled from his kingdom and now he is in Peking. He is with his servant Liu, who is the only person who supported him after losing his kingdom―a terrifying symbol of how our Spirit, our Innermost God, Timur, has been exiled. Our inner God, the 4th Arcanum of the Tarot: the Emperor, has lost his empire. And now he is lost seeking his son who has been separated from him.
That is a symbol of any person who, because of having created the ego, loses all development, and loses all innocence. Therefore, Timur, the Spirit, חֶסֶד Chesed in Kabbalah, as well as גְּבוּרָה Geburah, the divine soul, represented by Liu, the servant, are abandoned. They are separated from the soul, which is Tiphereth.
Tiphereth, the prince, is lost in Peking, but they reunite together within the city, indicating how any person who enters Gnosis and experiences their inner God, has that reunion, which is very beautifully depicted in this opera where the prince says, “Padre, mio padre,” “I have waited for you so long! I have lost you but now we are united!” because through meditation, through initial exercises in this tradition, we become reunited with our inner God.
We will state that Tartary was a great tract of Northern and Central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea in the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Tartary relates to the North, the regions of the cold of Asia. In Kabbalah, we say that Chesed is the North, because if you take the four directions―East is the vertical part of the Tree of Life towards China, the top Trinity of the Tree of Life, the West is Malkuth―the North is towards the right, Chesed; and the South relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life, because we know that the further South you go on the globe, the hotter it gets, typically beneath the equator. Towards the northern regions, it gets colder, which is why certain authors like Friedrich Nietzsche depicted how initiates live within the North, and why many German authors and composers like Wagner always depicted the great heroes coming from the North, from the land of Boreas, Hyperboreas, Hyperborea, “the northern wind,” a symbol of an ancient humanity, but also representative of how spiritual forces dwell within the higher regions of the globe like the mountains―the mountain of initiation, the North.
Geburah, the South, relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life because through the powers of the left pillar is how one can return to Binah, the Holy Ghost, or by abusing the powers of the left pillar, as we discussed in Arcanum 8: Justice, that force can descend down through Malkuth into the infernal planes.
This is why the very beginning of the opera, when Timur falls, the king falls, his servant Liu says, “My master has fallen! Will someone raise him for me?” It is a powerful symbol: how in us our master is no longer active. Our inner master has fallen, meaning: our development has been nullified. Why does Geburah, Liu, the servant, the divine soul, state, “My master has fallen. Will someone raise him?” This is because she is the power of the left pillar of the Tree of Life, which can raise the initiate, but she needs her help, and that is where the prince comes in, Prince Calaf, played by Placido Domingo in this version we have been watching.
That is when they are reunited. The prince, Tiphereth, emerges because only through the sephirah Tiphereth, our human willpower, can we conquer Netzach, the mind; Hod, the emotions; Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality, but also enter into the inferior worlds, the infra-dimensions, in order to work against the mind.
The Fall of Tyr
This path of initiation and this recognition of one's psychological state has been depicted in the Bible. When Liu says, How my master is fallen,” we find this represented in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 23, with the fall of the city of Tyre.
1 Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
For Tyre is destroyed
and left without house or harbor.
From the land of Cyprus
word has come to them.
2 Be silent, you people of the island
and you merchants of Sidon,
whom the seafarers have enriched.
3 On the great waters
came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile[a] was the revenue of Tyre,
and she became the marketplace of the nations
The city of Tyre was a representation of the city of the soul that was perfected. If you are familiar with the Rune Tyr amongst the Nordics, in our tradition, we do the mantra Tyr with our hands raised above our head, when we descend our hands down in the form of an arrow pointing up with our head as an apex. We do the mantra Tyr:
That is the power of Christ that descends through our mind, the Chakra Sahasrara, or China, the Far East in our head, because the solar logos enters our mind, our head, in order to descend down towards the Middle East, which is Tiphereth, our heart. Because Tiphereth is the East, but since it is in the middle of the Tree of Life, we call it the Middle East, which is why the character named the Prince of Persia in this opera was a master of the Middle East, the heart, but who failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum.
When that energy descends down into your body, it reaches what is called the West, which is your feet, Malkuth. The North is the right hand, South is the left hand. Chesed-Geburah. So when we work with that mantra Tyr, we are invoking those energies down to our body, and then we do the Rune Bar with our left hand on our left hip, our left heel against our right, our right hand against our side.
Bar is fire because we take the enemies of Christ down through our organism our Tree of Life, our spine, and then charge our body with the Rune Bar. Bar in Aramaic means “son.” It also means “fire,” and it is the root word of words like “barbarian,” “bar-bar-Aryan,” Ares, the power of Samael.
Another interesting etymology is that the power of Tyr, Timur, the power of light of the Spirit of the Rune Tyr, also relates to the acrostic Artyr―Arthur. King Arthur is the Spirit, the Innermost. We find that the Rune Ar, with our left hand on our left side, our right foot out, our right hand on our right side. We do the mantra Ario:
This is in order to prepare for the awakening of the sacred fire of the Kundalini.
The Rune Tyr, again, is when Christ descends into us. So, Arthur in the Britannic myths relate to the Spirit, the power of Tartary, the North, because we know that Britain and many of the Nordic lands were relating to the northern regions.
So that energy from the heavenly worlds has been abused, has been lost, represented by the fall of Tyre in the Bible. That energy of Christ entered us, but because of our mistakes, the city has been punished. Our soul has been lost.
So “On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor;” when one of those great waters of alchemy, our energies, which is where the grain, the seed, of Shihor― שין האוֹר Shin Ha’Aur: the fire and light of our potential is carried through the waters. “That was the revenue of Tyr,” meeting that our spiritual city, our soul, in the past, might have had development, and yet we have lost it, evidenced by the fact that we are ignorant. We are in Peking. We are in the darkness of the mind, lost like in the beginning of this opera.
4 Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
for the sea has spoken:
“I have neither been in labor nor given birth;
I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.”
And why mention that the sea has spoken? That sea is the Divine Mother, the ocean of the uncreated light: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur―represented by the very top of the Tree of Life, the Absolute. That is the great ocean, the cosmic space, Turandot, whom we seek to reunite with.
So “I have never been in labor nor given birth. I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters,” because that ocean of the great light has not created true men in many cases. Most of humanity does not want to be a child of God, an initiate. Therefore, the ocean of the light says, “I have not reared children, initiates, in this planet Earth, because it is a failure.” Where are the bodhisattvas, the masters?” As Liu says, “My master has fallen.” So our planet is precisely a mess. It is the city of Tyre that has been destroyed, and will be destroyed like Babylon in the Book of Revelations.
5 When word comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.
And what is this Egypt? מִצְרָיִם Mitzraim in Hebrew, meaning “the place between the waters.” In this case, when news of the fall of Tyre has been made manifest, those initiates from the Egyptian pantheon in the internal worlds look at us with a great sorrow.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, you people of the island.
7 Is this your city of revelry,
the old, old city,
whose feet have taken her
to settle in far-off lands?
…meaning to become strangers to the kingdom of God, the soul.
8 Who planned this against Tyre,
the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants are princes,
whose traders are renowned in the earth?
So Tyr, again, is the bestower of crowns, because in the Rune Tyr, you are invoking Christ into your crown of your head, your chakra. So even though those forces have entered into us, because we have been degenerate, we have expelled that light. We have destroyed the city of our Inner Being.
9 The Lord Almighty planned it,
to bring down her pride in all her splendor
and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
10 Till your land as they do along the Nile,
for you no longer have a harbor.
Why mention the sea so much and the ships of Tarshish? In the internal planes, if you are driving a boat or riding in a boat, it is a symbol of working in alchemy, or it is a symbol also of working with the waters of sexuality, because the boat of the great arcanum, the great ark, the path of the arch-angels, hovers over the faces of the waters, of Genesis, of alchemy, of transmutation. Those ships have no harbor, meaning they have nowhere to go, because we have betrayed the great arcanum, the teachings of chastity.
11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea
and made its kingdoms tremble.
He has given an order concerning Phoenicia
that her fortresses be destroyed.
12 He said, “No more of your reveling,
Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed!
“Up, cross over to Cyprus;
even there you will find no rest.”
Like the exiled king of Tartary, Timur. It is interesting that the word Tartary sounds like Tyr-tyry―Tyr, the powers of Tyr from above, the heavenly worlds that have been crushed, lost. And Timur, Liu, and the Prince Calaf have no place to rest, because they are in exile. They are being hunted, persecuted, because our soul is being persecuted by the ego, being hunted.
13 Look at the land of the Babylonians,
this people that is now of no account!
The Assyrians have made it
a place for desert creatures;
they raised up their siege towers,
they stripped its fortresses bare
and turned it into a ruin.
14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish;
your fortress is destroyed!
15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life
Arcanum 7 reminds us of war, battles, against the ego: Triumph. Because “Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, the span of a king's life.” If you reach and raise the seven serpents of fire within the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life, you become a king. You reunite with Timur, your Spirit, the light.
15 But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:
16 “Take up a harp, walk through the city,
you forgotten prostitute;
play the harp well, sing many a song,
so that you will be remembered.”
Why mention prostitution or prostitutes who sing their songs in remembrance of their past glories? Because right now, our soul is prostituted. It is lost. It is filthy. We may remember past days in our own meditations, our own experiences, in which we were once initiates. If you meditate and enter the internal worlds, you can find out from your inner God, what is your development? Because in most cases, for most people who are in the Gnostic movement, it is because we were here before, as a law of return a recurrence of all life. Many people who are in the Gnostic movement were once in other movements related to Gnosis in the past, but because they made mistakes, they left, and now they are returning again because Timur, the Spirit, is pushing for reunion.
But we are like that prostituted soul that sings about past glories. We may remember in our own meditations how perhaps we were up there, but now we are here. We are in suffering. So that is something you can verify and that is something very personal, because when you learn about your inner God and your development, perhaps in the past you were in initiate, but the point is that now we are here and we are not initiates. We have to regain what we lost. We have to regain what we remember.
17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes. ―Isaiah 23
Because when you work with Arcanum 7, you develop many treasures and virtues of the soul. If you remember, we talked about how by overcoming the ego, we acquire great triumphs, blessings from divinity, glories from our inner God. “And we will return to trade,” meaning, working with the ocean, the sea, the ships―working in transmutation once again, so that those goods which are stored up, those virtues of the soul, will be like fine clothes, meaning: solar bodies, which are inflamed with fire and life.
So, in this opera, Chesed, Geburah, and Tiphereth: Timur, Liu, and Prince Calaf, are reunited. Meaning, the human soul has, by meditation, have experiences with the Spirit and the divine soul because the human soul, we have to remember, is where we get the Essence.
Right now, we are the Essence, which is 3% free and 97% conditioned by ego. But when we reunite with the divine, we feel a great joy, but also great sorrow, because any initiate who once finds the path again after having lost it is filled with a lot of lamentation and sweet melancholy. Really, to be without God is to be in the greatest suffering, which indicates why Calaf in this Opera, the prince, is filled with such remorse, because he is a fallen bodhisattva.
He suffers a lot. He is a man of noble blood, meaning: he once entered initiation in the past and now he is returning to the path, because he wants to return to the Divine Mother Turandot.
Also in the opera, Calaf hesitates to pronounce his father's name. In the beginning of this opera, he says to his father, “I won't say your name here because we are being persecuted.” It is interesting because Samael Aun Weor mentions that the Spirit, Chesed, has a sacred name. All of us, our inner Spirit, has a divine name. Samael Aun Weor is a sacred name of the Angel Samael. Every person, every Being, every Innermost, has a sacred name.
As we circulate through existence from existence adopting new personalities, new terrestrial names, either of the male or female sex, those things are temporary. In truth, we maintain and always continue on in our profound depths of our consciousness with the divine name, the name that belongs to our inner God, our Being. So the prince Calaf says to his father, "I won't say your name here because we are being hunted." He knows his inner name, who his true identity is, but he fears to pronounce it because of what might happen to him, also because they do not want to evoke the wrath of the secret enemy stated by Moriy in his Dayspring of Youth: the ego, desire, the animal “I.”
Liu is the only person out of the whole kingdom that was faithful to King Timur when everything fell apart, because the divine soul, which is known as Buddhi in Sanskrit, is part of the Innermost. The Spirit, Chesed, is known as Atman amongst the Hindus. Atman-Buddhi. And when you unite the human soul in that trinity, you form Atman-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit―divine soul―human soul.
The divine soul is feminine, receptive, but she is also the power of Mars: strength, spirituality. She remains faithful to Timur because, again, she is part of him. Atman-Buddhi is one unit when one enters initiation, and so the human soul must unite with that inner trinity.
Another term for Liu is Beatrice: Dante's divine soul in his comedy, his Divine Comedy. It is Beatrice who always serves God, is divine. So she helps Tiphereth, and when the Prince Calaf asks her, “Why did you serve my father so much?” She says, “It is because you smiled at me once”―a reference to how the divine soul loves the human soul. Liu is in love with the Prince Calaf, and so serves him selflessly. Of course, Tiphereth wants to marry Binah, the Holy Spirit, simply because in the Tree of Life, Binah is the higher sephirah that we must attain above Geburah. But all parts of the soul must be integrated, must be united and must work together, as we will see in this opera.
Devolution and the Second Death
Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenes in this opera is the very opening, where we find the phrase or the song “Gira la cote,” and they are singing about blood and death and destruction―violence, hell. Gira la cote means “spin the wheel,” sharpen the executioner's axe. This is the song of the demons of the abyss, in Peking or in the infernal worlds. It is the wheel of cyclical existence (Bhavachakra) that spins upon the axis of ignorance, craving, and aversion.
It is important to note that in the Bible we find the following phrase, "Nephesh, nephesh, blood is paid for blood." נפש Nephesh we explain is the animal soul, which we find in our blood, in our instinct.
When the energies of sex are expelled, we form the tail of Satan as I mentioned, Kundabuffer. That is a nephesh, animal soul. That is the energy that takes those fornicators down into the worlds of Klipoth in order to devolve, to be disintegrated, which is why all the people of Peking in the beginning are crying out and singing to hell. They are singing about the second death, because they want those fallen souls, for the initiates to join them within the abyss, within Tartarus, the infernal planes.
It is also interesting that in that part of the opera, they are waiting for the executioner to come. Pu-Tin-Pao is his name, which reminds us of I-A-O, but in hell, because the power of Tyr, the heavenly world, has been lost in the infernal dimensions. Christ has been inverted and the energies of Christ above, when they are taken and used through fornication, become the forces of the hell realms―the power of nephesh, the animal soul.
So all of these people are clamoring out in intoxication from desire. All those black initiates of the infernal planes don't want people to marry Turandot, and so they fight against them and sing against them, saying, “Let him try to answer the riddles, but he will fail and join us in death.” So the initiates of the Black Lodge, as we explained in Arcanum 8: Justice, identify and fortify the forces of devolution, so that through many aeons, they are disintegrated within the interior of the earth, within the astral and mental planes or the inferior astral and mental planes, the Klipoth.
It always fills me with great horror whenever I watch that part of the opera, because I have had experiences related to it. I remember many years ago, I was in the astral plane and a group of black magicians came after me. They were very angry with me, because I am working in this path. So they took me and brought me into the interior of the earth, and forced me to watch a ceremony, which is similar to what we see in the opening of Turandot, which if you are familiar with the Metropolitan Opera version, you see that they are dancing with a dragon, a serpent. Where in the astral plane, I saw a ritual they were performing, showing how the devolving serpent is taking them down into the infernal planes. It was a kind of like a parade or ceremony.
But of course, at that time I didn't feel any fear or discomfort. I was simply happy to be awake, conscious. But I looked at them very sorrowful, and of course that made them angry because they weren't convincing me about what they were doing. But I remember being in that Black Lodge and they were trying to tempt me, and teach me about the inverted serpent, but I already know enough about that, and I have confronted them many times in my work, where they try to tempt you to enter the devolving path.
This is the same multitudes, the lunar multitudes who worship Luna. When they are waiting for the executioner to arrive, to kill the Prince of Persia, the master who failed in the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum, we find that they bow down and worship the moon. It is a symbol of how black magicians worship the ego, because the moon as we explained in Arcanum 8 is the ego, desire, mechanicity, repetition, suffering. They even refer to the moon as “a lopped off head, a severed head.” It is a symbol of how those black magicians worship egotism, נפש nephesh, animality. And so, when they worship the moon, it is a symbol of how they are descending from Malkuth to the nine spheres of hell. The first sphere of hell relates to the moon, according to Dante in The Divine Comedy. And that is the entrance into the infernal worlds.
Question: But doesn’t the moon also relate to Yesod?
Instructor: Yes, because Yesod is the vital energy. In heaven it is pure, but through fornication, it is limbo, the first sphere of hell. The chorus says a couple lines such as how they love “the bloodless one.” They are lovers of the dead, meaning: they are worshiping and loving hell because down there, there is no spirit. If you remember what Nietzsche is saying from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he says that “Write with blood and you will discover that blood is spirit.” So the bloodless ones have no Spirit. They have no development, and because they are in hell, they are in Klipoth, the world of shells. They have no substance, no life, no reality, and they suffer for many eternities down there.
But at the end of that choir calling for Pu-Tin-Pao―the power of I-A-O, diablo, the infernal powers that originally came from Christ, but have been filtered, conditioned, shelled, with animality, after the end of that song to Pu-Tin-Pao, the executioner―we hear a chorus of children singing a melody related to Turandot. It is very beautiful and innocent, very pure. It is a symbol of how after the soul devolves through the infernal worlds and after the ego is fully eliminated, then the consciousness can be extracted and returns as a child, an elemental, back within the paradises of the mineral kingdom, and then through evolution it can enter the plant kingdom, and then the animal kingdom, and then finally the humanoid kingdom again.
Those children are those souls that, after having entered and passed through the second death, the death of the ego within Klipoth, they return through transmigration back up the cycles of evolution. They are singing in their song about Turandot. They say “thousands of voices from the deserts of the sea call upon Turandot,” because those innocent children now have another opportunity in order to return to the Divine Mother. But of course, they failed, but they are going to restart the whole journey, again through many millions and millions and aeons of time. Of course, that is the great problem when initiates decide to fall: they lose everything and have to start over again, which of course is a very painful process.
When Masters Fall
At this point in the opera, the Prince of Persia is being led to his death. The Prince of Persia had answered or tried to answer three riddles, but failed them. And therefore, he is going to be executed. Persia is in the Middle East, which is why Puccini depicted how Tiphereth is in the Middle East of the glyph. Again, the Sun rises in Tiphereth, and since Tiphereth is in the middle of the Tree of Life, it has been depicted in certain religious scriptures as the Middle East. So the Prince of Persia is a master. He is a malik, a king, a warrior, Tiphereth, emphasized by the name Persia, or Pharisee, Farsi, which means “worshiper of fire,” INRI, Christ.
Question: But that’s the enlightened version of a Pharisee?
Instructor: Yes, so this character, he is a bodhisattva. But he failed the ordeals. He didn't eliminate the ego, and therefore he is going to be decapitated by the executioner, meaning: he is going to enter devolution because he failed. He couldn't eliminate his desires. They are too powerful.
At this point, the chorus shifts gears. It is interesting that the chorus sometimes praises the initiates but then sometimes praises hell. It is because in us, our kingdom is mixed. We are mixed with other virtues and vices, but everyone cries out to Turandot for mercy for the Prince of Persia, because they see how beautiful he is. Because any master who has light is beautiful, is Tiphereth, because Tiphereth in Hebrew means “beauty.” They want mercy for him. They don't want him to be executed. But of course, the Divine Mother is very severe, because if you want to marry her, you have to have no ego. That is why She is very demanding and why She is sometimes depicted in this opera as being very cruel: cold as jade, cold as a sword, because she is ז Zayin, the letter of Kabbalah relating to the spine, the Kundalini, the 7th Arcanum.
We will state that he was a prince of the Middle East who wanted to marry the Divine Mother in the Far East, China, and through the help of the Spirit and the divine soul. And so, it is a tragedy that this Prince of Persia failed, and it is very common. Many bodhisattvas fail in the work because they need to work more diligently in the death of the ego. And as we say, the chorus laments his death or his impending death because, coming from the Greek traditions, the word, the chorus, can either be congratulatory or condemning. It plays a dual function, referring to how the Word, the Christ, can be channeled in heaven or in hell.
Sometimes the crowd praises Christ saying, “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest! Glory to God in the highest!” And then next, “Crucifixia! Crucifixia!” So you find the duality in the chorus even from the Greek traditions, but also in this opera.
When Calaf sees the prince, sees the Prince of Persia going to his death, he says "Turandot, you are cruel. Let me see your face so I can curse you!” Because anyone in the beginning of these studies, when hearing about the severity of the Divine Mother, obviously feels fear or the ego feels fear and says, “Let me look at that divinity so I can curse her!” But this is the moment when he sees her for the first time and is overwhelmed and overcome by her beauty. When he sees her in this version of the opera, the stage rises along with the glorious theme or motif for the Divine Mother: kind of a mixture of Italian with Chinese music. It is a very beautiful alchemical synthesis of styles.
When he sees her for the first time, he is overwhelmed with love because anyone who experiences the Divine Mother in Her true form, wants to marry Her, to be reunited with Her, because She is perfection in an absolute sense.
And Calaf, in this version of the opera, I don't know of what other versions may have this, but he has his hands outstretched raised, like this, in the form of the Rune Man, because he wants to receive the power of the Divine Mother within him, the light.
At this point in time, the crowds disperse. Turandot vanishes and the chorus states "Koung tzè, please take the soul of the dying Prince of Persia up to heaven." It is interesting that this word “Kung” is mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in his book Christ's Will, which reminds us of a gong, a keynote in nature. He explains in that book how all of nature has it sounds, its key notes within the spiritual realms as well as the physical. So he says that, I believe the line he uses in his book is, how “Christ resounds like the Chinese Kung,” and you find in this opera, ”Koung-tzè, please take this soul of this dying man up to heaven.” Because any sound, like a gong or a bell, is a symbol of the divine, of Christ. You say in the astral plane, looking to the sky, “In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ!”―you will see from the sky a bell and hear a tremendous gong.
You know those church bells that resound in the tops of cathedrals? They originated from that, because when you invoke Christ in the astral plane, you hear a gong, a bell, which also reminds us of ringing the bell three times when the Prince Calaf decides to take upon himself the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum by ringing the gong three times to awaken Turandot, a symbol of how we awaken the Kundalini within the Chakra Muladhara, which is coiled three-and-a-half times within the coccyx.
But before that point, Calaf has to face many trials. He becomes inebriated by her perfume, which is a symbol of chastity, because pure smells reminds us of incense, of transmutation, of the aroma of the sexual energy, which we inhale through the breath, the prana, and we circulate it throughout our body.
When he cries out her name, “Turandot!” three times, the crowd becomes silent and then you hear the Prince of Persia yell, “Turandot!l and then he is executed. And of course, Timur and Liu in this part of the opera become very concerned. They don't want their child, the human soul to enter that path [of devolution]. But the fact that the crowds cry out in fear and terror when the Prince of Persia is executed also represents how in the internal planes, if you call out the name of the Virgin Mary, Miriam, the demons scream in terror. They despise chastity, which is something that Samael Aun Weor stated in his books.
But of course, King Timur and Liu, they are concerned with Calaf. They don't want him to enter that fate, and it seems contradictory that if Timur is the Spirit and Liu is the divine soul, why would they try to dissuade Calaf from the path? It is also something very subtle and symbolic, something very beautiful. They warn him about the consequences of failure, but they don't dissuade him from the path. They only tell him that if you fail, you will suffer more than had you never started. Because, when you work with energy, you build up power and force, and if that becomes diverted back down into hell again, one falls lower than one began.
They emphasize that the work of the ego is very dangerous, very difficult. If you fail, you will lose more than if you had never started. But this type of dynamic in the relationship refers to a scripture in the Book of Mark, chapter 10 verses 29 to 30, when Jesus refers to how one's family, one's friends will go against oneself, which is represented by this symbol, because when we enter the path of initiation, people go against us. They dislike the fact that we are working against the ego.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
“But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” ―Mark 10:29-30
Diablo, Lucifer, and the Three Traitors
At this point in time we meet three very enigmatic characters. Their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. They come into the scene in order to stop the prince from following his destiny. They are coming into the scene order to tempt the prince, and their names aren't given at this point of the opera, but their names are Ping, Pang, and Pong. If you look at the vowels of their name, you find the meaning of their symbol: I-A-O. Igneous, Aqua, Origo.
Question: A sacred symbol? That is a sacred name!
Instructor: Yes, because this force of I-A-O, when it is in heaven is pure, but within the ego, is the tempter. This is where we get the word diablo (DI-A-BLO). So this is Lucifer, which represents part of our Being. He is our psychological trainer. The light of Lucifer reminds us of luci feros, the light of Christ. Up in heaven, Lucifer was divine, but because we fell, we took Lucifer, the creative sexual energy, and destroyed it, conditioned it through desire, through ego. That light became the devil, the ego, desire.
So that energy is partly trapped in the ego. It needs to be liberated, which is why Samael Aun Weor stated that Lucifer is our psychological trainer who is mixed with desire. He is the part of our Being that gives us trials and ordeals and temptations so that we can face ourselves, face the mind, in order to see our problems, because without facing those psychological conflicts, those trials, those ordeals, we can't find and work on the ego. We can't see our defects.
He is the light of I-A-O, but in hell, he is diablo, the tempter. This is why in the Buddhist myth, Mara has three daughters who tempt Buddha when he is meditating beneath the Bodhi Tree. Likewise, Jesus is betrayed by three traitors: Judas, Pilate, and Caiphas. Calaf wants to climb the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to work with a marriage. Of course, he is tempted in his three brains: his intellect, his emotions, and his sex, through desire, because the ego manifests in the three brains: I-A-O. “I” reminds us of the intellectual brain because the mantra “I,” pronounced “ee,” vibrates in the head. The mantra O vibrates in the heart. The vowel A reminds us of the waters, also the breath, because we work with the breath and the creative sexual energy through our lungs to work upon the waters of Genesis. I-A-O: intellectual brain related with Netzach, emotional brain relating to Hod, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain relating to Yesod, our waters.
For Calaf to be more determined in his path, he has to be tempted, and so his own mind goes against him, raging and conflicting with him by saying, “Turandot doesn't even exist. Why do you want to enter this path? Who are you? What do you want?” And that is a question that we ask ourselves and we are asked in our Gnostic studies. Who are we? What are we living for? Where we going? Why are we living?
Any student who enters Gnosis for the first time faces that conflict. When beginning to learn meditation, they find that the mind is fighting, is agitated, is addicted to sensations, to desires. I believe there is even one line that Ping, Pang, and Pong say, “Why do you want to marry Turandot so much? Why do you want the Divine Mother? You can have many women here in this physical plane.” And so that is lust and temptation in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
Calaf becomes very angry, very agitated. He says, “Leave me be! Let me follow my path.” But of course, the ego is always going after him. Lucifer is always tempting, trying to show him his own faults so that he can marry Turandot. That is the great mystery of diablo. If there is no temptation, there is no light. Temptation is fire. Triumph over temptation is light.
If you want to enter the Far East as a soul emanating from the Middle East, you have to descend to the West, the abyss, the Tartarus, where the power of Tyr, Tyrtarus, Tyr―the energies are inverted. You have to go down into your own hell realms through Arcanum 1: The Magician, through descending into the infernal worlds in order to reascend with power. That is the mystery of Lucifer.
We find that these three characters Ping, Pang, and Pong are represented in this work many times throughout the opera, in Acts Two and Three;, more importantly within Act One, but also in Act Three. Act Two is a little bit more subtle.
But it is important to note that if we want mastery, we have to be tempted.
Love of Divinity: The Sufi Trope of the Initiatic Madman
Samael Aun Weor explains in his book The Mystery of the Golden Flower that there are many Spirits, many masters, or monads, inner Beings―because the word Monad means unity―that don't want mastery. Therefore, they don't push their soul with spiritual inquietudes or longings to want to enter into initiation. But those who are really pushed by the Being, who want to obtain self-realization, feel great disturbances, great longings, great sufferings, because they know that, intuitively, if they continue as they are, they will be taken by the forces of devolution in order to be destroyed in hell. If any one of us are in these studies and classrooms is because we know from experience, deep down, that we don't want to enter that path.
So many people think that those who enter initiation are crazy, insane, which is why Calaf is accused of being a lunatic in this opera, or in this act. They think he is mad because he wants to unite with Turandot and of course, you can look at the size of our classrooms, of people who are interested in marrying or self-realizing the Divine Mother Turandot. Most people, they run away. They are not interested in working on ego, because to marry Turandot is very demanding. To marry the Divine Princess Shekinah is very arduous, which is why Kahlil Gibran, who wrote many Sufi, Christian poems like The Prophet, describes this path very beautifully in relation to this opera. I am not saying that he saw this opera and commented on it, but there are certain allegories here in his writings, in The Madman, that relate to what Prince Calaf and what any person entering into initiation experiences.
"You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,―the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives, ―ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, ‘Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.’
“Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.
“And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, ‘He is a madman.’ I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun (just as Calaf falls in love with the Divine Mother Turandot when he sees her for the first time) and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”
“Thus I became a madman.
“And I have found both freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
“But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.” ―Kahlil Gibran, The Madman
So what is that sun? It is Christ. We have to tear the veil of Isis in the seven bodies, “the seven masks we have worn in seven lives,” by raising the fire of Kundalini up the bodies of Malkuth, Yesod, Netzach, Tiphereth, Geburah, Chesed. We are tearing the seven masks off from our face so that Christ, the Sun, the Solar Logos, can inflame us with purity, so that we can become united with Christ.
People who enter this path are obviously accused of being lunatics. These types of topics don't please people. They don't please academics. They don't please the scholars, the religious fanatics, the fornicators. This type of knowledge is very distinct, which is why the mysteries of the 13th Arcanum resound within the darkness of the caverns of the Earth, where there are very few people who want to take advantage of it.
Temptations on the Path
As Calaf and Ping, Pang, and Pong, Lucifer in the three brains―because Lucifer tempts us in our intellect, our emotions, and our sex―as they are arguing, certain mistresses to the Princess Turandot reprimand them that she is sleeping and that they shouldn't awaken her. It is a symbol of how our Kundalini is sleeping in the Chakra Muladhara and is awaiting for the moment of divine awakening within sexual alchemy, through I-A-O, which we know is the sacred mantra in The Perfect Matrimony, the supreme mantra for sexual alchemy.
Ping, Pang, and Pong tell him, “Shun the riddles of Turandot. It's like shunning the mountains.” It is one word they use, meaning: “Don't enter initiation. Don't climb the mountain of the Tree of Life, but stay down here.” They tell him “Why do you want Turandot so much? She doesn't even exist. She is not real”―which is what the ego says, the mind says. Personally, I remember one retreat in which I was having a conversation with certain Buddhists―black magicians. They are awake and they were trying to convince me again that my love for my Divine Mother is illusory, that I should enter down in the infernal worlds, because they think, in a backward sense, that going into the interior of the earth is entering to development, because they are identified with those forces, with the Divine Mother in hell. So they offer many arguments and philosophical debates and theories and beliefs telling you why fornication is good and why the Divine Mother is bad. So these are very common conflicts that one faces.
The Call of the Dead
It is here at this point in the opera that we hear the ghosts of the dead worshipping Devi Kundalini. Those are the disembodied souls who have entered into Klipoth, who fell into the abyss because they failed the ordeals of the 13th Arcanum. So even in their suffering when they are devolving, they are singing out. If you remember in the opera, they are showing the heads of the decapitated on spikes, and you hear their ghostly call from the infernal worlds calling up saying, "We still love Turandot." Because even when they are devolving and being disintegrated, they love the divine force of the Divine Mother, but of course, in heaven She is divine, but in hell, She devours Her own children. That is because that force is utilized depending on our level of being, our qualities of being.
It is also important to know that the Divine Mother never abandons Her child, because those souls who are filled with ego, who don't want to rise up to the light, they have to be disintegrated out of compassion. So the Divine Mother accompanies them down into the inferno worlds to be destroyed.
But at this point in time, the prince hears those ghosts calling out from the dead, from the abyss, and he says, "No, only I love Turandot!”
Only a prince of the Middle East can love Turandot perfectly, be reflected within her and her within him. It is also interesting to note that the sacred mantra for the sephirah Tiphereth is אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah Va Daath Iod Hei Vau Hei, meaning “goddess of knowledge,” יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah, as described within the region of Atziluth within the world of Tiphereth, the sacred name of God in that sephirah.
Signore Ascolta: “Listen My Lord”
Liu sings for Calaf not to leave because she does not want him to fail. She says, "Your name has always been on my lips” as we have wandered within these infernal world seeking your remembrance. So the word for God is השם Hashem, the Name: “Your name has been on my lips,” and the lips refers to דעת Da’ath, meaning: “We have always remembered you, the soul,” but “we are separated from you as we are in exile,” because we are the Essence, which emanated from Tiphereth, but we are in Malkuth and we seek to be reunited with the Spirit and the divine soul.
So this is when she sings Signore, ascolta: “Listen my Lord.” This is a direct reference to:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.” ―Deuteronomy 6:4-5
In Kabbalah, Tiphereth is ישראל Israel, the son of Isis, the Divine Mother; Ra, the Solar Logos; and אל El, the Spirit, Timur. Prince Calaf is Israel, the willpower of the initiate, symbolized by Moses, who must liberate the different parts of the soul trapped in suffering, by the different egos, the people of Peking. Remember that they are enslaved to the devolving forces or inverted serpentine powers of the Kundabuffer, Kali: the negative aspect of the Divine Mother Death. To achieve liberation, we must love divinity within our three brains, with all our soul, heart, and strength. The three brains will be constantly referenced in the next two acts as well.
Signore ascolta also means, esoterically: don't fail in your work, because if you fail in the work, the thread that unites the soul with the Being will be cut. That is known as the Antahkarana thread, and in fallen souls, demons, who have no hope for redemption, that connection is severed. And so she sings in lamentation. “If you fail in this work, you will be cut off from us and you'll be devolving and suffering tremendously.”
At this point Calaf still remains resolved. He says (metaphorically), “I won't renounce my effort, my will, because I want to marry and self-realize my Divine Mother.” That is the type of willpower we need, the aspiration we need, when we practice. Calaf says he suffered too much. He no longer smiles. That is because any fallen bodhisattva has lost God, and so he says, “I once smiled in the past, but now I am unhappy. I will only be happy when I return to Devi Kundalini, my divine princess.” Really, every aspirant who finds the path does so because they want to cease suffering, but even more so for fallen masters. A fallen master suffers tremendously because they had the light and they lost it. Now they want to return back to their origins.
Question: The Divine Mother, is that also the princess? Are they synonymous?
Instructor: Yes, because the Divine Mother is Turandot. She is RAM-IO.
Question: Ok, well the mother and the princess, they are a little different...
Instructor: Right. So the concept of the Divine Mother may sound a little strange. Why is the Prince Calaf trying to marry the Divine Mother? It is because She is the mother of the soul. When our soul has perfected itself fully, it unites with Aima Elohim and Abba Elohim as a perfect unity. So you have Osiris-Ra and Horus. Osiris is the Divine Father. Isis is the Divine Mother and Horus is the Son. Through self realization, that trinity becomes perfected, unified.
But of course in order to get to that point, Calaf, the prince, has to suffer a lot, because it is through suffering in which one becomes inspired to change. So, fallen bodhisattvas, obviously, suffer more than other people, because they had a higher knowledge of the law, and because they broke the law, they are more accountable and have more responsibility. This is known as the lion of the law, Katancia: karma of the initiates and the gods, as we discussed in Arcanum 5.
The people around them say life is beautiful. Why do you want to abandon life? Why do you want to abandon this physical world? Why do you want to go up there and challenge love, to be united with Her and risk everything? But Calaf says, “I ask for pity from you, because I love Her so much that I am willing to do anything in my power.” He says, “No power on Earth can hold me back. I follow my destiny!” And the crowd is singing, “We are digging your grave for you, ready for you,” for those who challenge love, because the ordeals over the death of the ego are very challenging as we said.
Friedrich Nietzsche depicts this struggle in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, of which we will relate in brief. This is from “On the Way of the Creator,” and I have added some commentary and explanations into some of the language he uses because it is very deep:
“Is it your wish, my brother (or fellow initiate) to go into solitude (meditation)? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? (your Divine Mother or your Ain Soph? Because remember when we do the Rune Ur, we say, “I need to die within my defects so that my Essence may be lost in Him, in Him, in Him.’ That Him is our Ain Soph, our inner Being as we discussed in Arcanum 2 of the Eternal Tarot). Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself? Then linger a moment and listen to me.
“He who seeks the way to himself (initiation) easily gets lost (in the abyss and the second death). All loneliness is guilt (or better said, all loneliness or contemplation and self-remembering is guilt). Thus speaks the heard (the fornicators, the people of Peking). And you have longed belonged to the herd. The (egotistical) voice of the herd will still be audible in you, and when you will say, ‘I no longer have a common conscience with you,’ it will be a lament and agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience (the collective lunar mind and of the intellectual animals, the lunar multitudes who worship the second death), and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on your affliction (for you’re entering into initiation through conscious works and voluntary sufferings).
“But do you want to go the way of your affliction (the path of sacrifice of the 13th Arcanum, the denial of the ego), which is the way to yourself (Ain Soph Paranishpanna as we explained in Arcanum 2)? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right? (Meaning: the aspiration, longing, and power of Bodhichitta, which claims for itself the end goal: self-realization, Ain Soph Paranishpanna). Are you a new strength and a new right? A first movement (related to Kether)? Are are you a self-propelled wheel? Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?" ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “On the Way of the Creator”
This is what Calaf does. The whole world was against him, saying, “You can't do this. You can't rise. You want to go to the very heights of the Absolute, go beyond the universe, and yet you are down here. You think you can do this?” And so this is how the mind and the black magicians tempt you, fighting against you and railing and trying to tempt you in the astral plane and physically, trying to plant doubts to make you fail or to convince you that you can't do it.
This is a process that is beautifully described in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and also Samael Aun Weor where he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold. For those of you who are not familiar with the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael Aun Weor explains that this is part of our Being, which, in the beginning of this path, we have to face a certain ordeal in which we confront a figure of or manifestation of all of our defects. This can happen in the internal planes through internal experiences, in which you see a great monster, gigantic, a full reflection of what you are. And so you have to fight that monster and defeat it, in the Name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the glory of Christ. This is partly alluded to in this opera in which he wants to ring the gong three times to awaken Devi Kundalini, because before we can awaken the Kundalini, we have to face the Guardian of the Threshold in which we are tempted by our own defects. We have to face that beast.
Personally, I remember fighting my own monster, my Guardian, and it was a very bloody battle, but fortunately, I succeeded, and I remember in that experience a group of black magicians were looking at me and they were horrified. I remember the light of Christ inspired me to speak and say “It can be done. You have to want it.” And they stood there amazed.
Comment: Just to add to what you said about the Dweller, the Guardian of the Threshold―a number of metaphysicians, one, he died not too long ago. His name was Stuart Wilde. Anyway, he was talking about the Guardian. He said that it was truly terrifying. He then knew what Carl Jung was up against when he described the Guardian. Carl Jung experienced it. Steiner said it too. It’s pretty heavy! Well, you experienced it. You see, it’s scary!
Instructor: But you see that reflected in the opera, in which you have all the voices of hell raised against him. He says, “Turandot!” and of course the people in the crowd say “muerte!” “Turandot!” “Muerte!” and then “Turandot!” again, muerte meaning “death.” Everytime he says her name, they say death, because that death will either occur through initiation, through victory, or in failure. There are two ways to die: willingly or unwillingly.
So after he overcomes their temptations, the struggle against the crowd, he strikes the gong three times in order to awaken the Divine Mother. So this is when the Kundalini awakens from the Chakra Muladhara, to rise up in the 33 vertebrae of the spine, and 33 reminds us of 3 plus 3, which is 6, Arcanum 6: Indecision, which is what we find reflected in this struggle, in this opera. It also refers to the commandment, “Thou shalt not fornicate.” This how he begins to initiate his journey back up the Tree of Life from Malkuth to Tiphereth, the Middle East.
Conclusion: A Spiritual Experience
In conclusion, I will relate to you another experience that relates to this topic. Many years ago I was meditating and had the experience of leaving my body, and then I found myself in the astral plane flying, being taken by my Divine Mother to a travel agency.
I knew I wanted a specific destination in the travel agency. I went up to the counter. I said to the lady at the desk, "I want to go to the Middle East. How much do I have to pay? The woman said, “355 dollars." 5 + 5 is 10, + 3 is 13. So they were telling me, “You want to go to the Middle East, Tiphereth, achieve Arcanum 13. Die in your ego.” I remember at that moment, I heard someone laughing at me, and I knew intuitively it was an executioner of the law, because in the opera, not necessarily in this version, but in other versions too, when he strikes the gong three times, Calaf, you hear the executioner laughs. And so I remember that experience. They were telling me that the executioner was laughing because there is going to be death either way, victoriously, or as a failure. It depends on our work.
Questions and Answers
Do you have any questions?
Question: This has something to do with the ego. Is the best way to eliminate an ego would not be the dwell on it, if you did something good today at work or something, but to forget about it, and when you go home, to remember it for a split second and then just meditate on it and comprehend it?
Instructor: Yeah, so it's one thing to reflect on an ego, and another thing to be identified with it. I know that when we face certain uglinesses in the mind, relating to our faults, it gets very painful. But the thing we have to remember is that we have to observe what we witnessed, what we saw in that moment. Look at concrete facts, concrete details. So if we discovered in a moment of conflict with a co-worker, an element of anger and pride, and also resentment, and we feel that we acted wrong, we feel that intuitive discernment and remorse, the thing is to remember that and to again feel that longing, but also don't dwell on it. Don't beat oneself up over the fault, but to feel remorse is another thing, primarily because remorse is a conscious quality, but shame is something else. Shame is not useful. It doesn't help. But if we feel remorse and say to ourselves, “I really made a terrible mistake here,” personally when I have had that at work, certain conflicts, I tell myself, “Okay. Let me continue observing. Let me be mindful. Remember my God.” I continue to pray until when I get home, I go and I reflect on that mistake and pray for understanding. Imagine that scene as it happened, concentrate on my inner God, my Divine Mother. Ask Her, “Show me with insight, how did I make a mistake here? What did I do wrong?”
You’ll find with profundity of depth in the practice, without forgetting what we are concentrating on, what we are meditating on, the insight will come to you. In that way, you can pray for elimination. That is how we travel to the Middle East, go up the Tree of Life―not flagellating ourselves and saying, “I am a bad person. I am negative.” Because even though we are demons, there is no need to adopt a morbid attitude. It doesn't help anyone. People who are morbid end up leaving Gnosis because they don't see any benefit from the practices. But people who comprehend and feel remorse is something else, because they feel inspired. When you feel remorse, you recognize, you say, “I made a big mistake,” and that remorse in the heart is what is inspiring us from divinity to change. Because without that inspiration, without that remorse, we would be lost, which is why Calaf in the beginning of the opera, or better said at the end of the first Act, says “I have suffered too much. I am in so much pain. I feel so much remorse. I am no longer happy.” That recognition of the causes of suffering is what pushes one to want to enter the path of love, to challenge love.
Question: This is opera about the thirteenth arcanum?
Instructor: Yes, about death, death of the ego.
Question: Turandot then is the Shekinah?
Instructor: The Divine Mother.
Comment: You mentioned how you could hurt somebody or realized that you hurt them. You look at their heart, somehow. I think you mentioned how it is corrosive to the divine force, your negative feelings, even if you feel justified. It is not good. If you could sort of feel the pain and realize that you are wounding another body, and you are trying to justify it in your mind, it is still no good. It is a corrosive force that will hold you back on the path. But you really have feelings, and you tell yourself that―words are one thing―“Oh yeah, I was wrong,” But unless you feel it in your heart… It brings out a sense of empathy towards others.
Instructor: Right. And that sense develops the more you meditate, because you find that in your interactions with people, whether at work or with family or friends, you become more intuitive, more insightful. You see how even your thoughts affect people. Even your emotions affect others invisibly, which, you know, we like to think that we are separated from people in a very physical sense, like there is a barrier, “I can think whatever I want and feel whatever I want and that it is not going to affect anyone.” But the truth is that our mind influences people, and if you become very intuitive and clairvoyant and develop that faculty very well, you start to sense more and more, and recognize how wrong, negative, psychological states produce suffering.
Question: In The Revolution of the Dialectic, so Samael says that basically the mind is pretty much purely Satanic. Are we only supposed to use that for comprehension, whereas opinions are not really good to have? Obviously sarcasm is not good to have. But to use the mind, “I got to fix this. I have to work on this problem”?
Instructor: The solution is observe. Obviously, it is good not to talk about what one doesn't know. I know in my employment, my job, when people ask me things that I am not capable of or don't know, I say, “I don't know. I can give you an educated guess, but I think you should talk to so-and-so,” because it is important not to try to go about thinking that one knows things that one doesn't, which is something I apply very strictly to my lectures here―to teach things only that I know or to refer to the Master Samael for things I don't know.
Comment: Or repeating...
Instructor: Or repeating what other people said and that I don't really have an experience, because it doesn't help anybody. You have a lot of people in the Gnostic movement who are like that. They parrot. They talk about things they haven't experienced. So it is always good to speak from our own knowledge, from experience, and to observe and just observe, what is our psychological sate, and to be mindful throughout the day. Observe in each moment, and that is how you get data about your defects, because as we say in this teaching, there is no golden maxim, that “I can follow this, this, this, and this and I am going to go up to the Middle East and the Far East and marry Turandot and I'll be done.” It is very difficult, as you'll see in Act Two. It is very difficult, very dangerous, because you find that when you have to answer those riddles in yourself, when you answer those ordeals, when you reach conflicts in your daily life, how you choose to respond determines your fate and where you go. So the way to understand proper psychological states is to observe, and then intuitively you'll know in any circumstance of life what to do.
Question: Would you say that it is wrong to point that out to other people...
Instructor: If they need it and if you know that they are going to listen. But at the same time, there are certain people that, we respect their will. We say, if you don't want to change, that is your business. Personally, I work with certain clients that are very difficult. They test me all the time―try to find loopholes in my thinking, the way that I work with them. But they like me a lot because I don't judge them. It still doesn't mean that I don't instill punitive measures when I have to, but at the same time we have to help people based on our capacity, our abilities, but without forcing our will on others as we relate it with Arcanum 11: Persuasion.
Question: When you talk about the black magicians, witches... but then you say they are awake. What does that mean? They just have this knowledge...
Instructor: What I meant was that they are awakened in evil. To be awake doesn't necessarily mean they are awake in a good way. A black magician is being, a real full-fledged black magician, is a being who is aware that they are awake. They have powers in the ego. They can astral project. They can do jinn science. They can read people's minds. They can talk telepathically. So when I was talking about those specific cases, I should have been more clear, that they are awakened in evil. They are demons, and they are trying to pull me from my path, telling me things and trying to have arguments with me. I was trying to be like Prince Calaf, like I remember from the opera, just saying, “No. Just let me be. That is your path. So be it!”
Question: So they probably have this knowledge whether it's this or Rosicrucian or something and they just go off on the opposite end.
Instructor: Some of them do. A lot of them don't. There are many who do know now that Samael Aun Weor's teaching has been more explicit and open. They have been very aware of what he teaches. This is why the ineffable melodies of the 13th Arcanum resound as an opera within the caverns of the Earth, because this teaching is now open to everyone. Samael Aun Weor explained the symbols of these great operas in his teachings. So, they know the knowledge and it is even more painful for them when they reject the knowledge, because as you read the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad was teaching how he kept giving his doctrine, his light, but the unbelievers wouldn't accept it. Or as the Bible says, “The people who walketh in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). They don't understand the light. A lot of them don't want to change. Some do.
Comment: So right now, America is being inundated with the seven deadly sins. It is like ridiculous right now and even people are being tricked by pride, with pride parades.
Instructor: That is because no one loves death of the ego. They love the ego. This is why all the multitudes of humanity in the chorus (Gira la cote) are praising blood and death and fornication and evil. That is the multitudes who worship the moon, which is why the opera begins in that setting and they all are worshiping and bowing to the executioner who is going to kill, the second death. That is what humanity loves.
Question: Is this happening because we have to get this out of our system or is this whole negative thing that is going on?
Instructor: It is happening because the ego has been building up so much in our humanity that finally, there is only a maximum that it can reach before this humanity needs to be annihilated, as we explained in the first lecture in this course, the Introduction to the Secret Teachings of Opera available on chicagognosis.org. Humanity has reached its end. This Aryan Root Race will be pulverized, will be annihilated. But before that point, the teachings of the 13th Arcanum are made available in the opera houses to teach the demons who want to change. And those who don't, so be it. Let them be.
Question: A lot of people they go to see Turandot, they want to hear the music... not all, since some parts are not the most melodious. But as far as the metaphysical aspects... Maybe one in a hundred like… What do you think? You never hear them talk about it! They’re like, “Oh, Puccini!” Nothing metaphysical!
Instructor: Not even. I have looked on the internet to see if anyone in our tradition has commented on Turandot and I didn't find anyone yet. I mean, I know people who I have worked with in this tradition who know about it. They know the opera well, but I haven't found anyone who has explained it. So, personally this is an opera that has influenced me greatly so I felt it important for me to explain for people who don't know.
Question: The Guardian of the Threshold, is that a book by Samael?
Instructor: There are references to the Guardian of the Threshold in The Perfect Matrimony, specifically. This is where he introduces that, but also he talks about the Guardian of the Threshold in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled.
Question: What is the Guardian of the Threshold? What is the definition?
Instructor: The Guardian of the Threshold is an ordeal that the disciple faces at the beginning of the path to determine whether or not they are going to be qualified for what are known as the Major Mysteries. So in the beginning of the path, before we can awaken Devi Kundalini, we have to be tested. This is known as the probationary path or the Minor Mysteries. Any person who is single or even married has to pass through the minor initiations relating to nine degrees, which also relates to entering the interior of the earth and its nine strata, its nine infernal regions. It is a symbol of how we have to face ourselves to a certain degree, in which we recognize our egotism, our suffering and that we need to change.
Question: That is interesting. There are many books by metaphysicians on the Kundalini… how to raise it. Nothing about the Guardian of the Threshold.
Instructor: It is because the black magicians fortify that element in themselves. They don't want to work against it, but in the probationary path, you have to face the Guardian. You face an ordeal in the internal worlds, internally, in which you have to confront your own self. So the Guardian of the Threshold, Samael says, is your Being, but it reflects in you all of your garbage, all your evilness that you have accumulated over many millennia. You have to face it in a very great battle. You have to fight hand-to-hand, psychologically, against this beast and conjure it. If you don't defeat it, people who don't defeat it eventually leave Gnosis. They abandon the teaching, but people who have conquered, they stay, because they conquered the ordeal. And so you find that subtle reference in the opera where you have all these people going against them, all the voices clamoring, saying “Have pity on us! Don’t do this work! What do you think you are doing? You can't reach Turandot!” Ping, Pang, and Pong, Diablo, is part of that. It is related to the Guardian the Threshold because he is the tempter.
Question: But those are the three brains also right?
Instructor: Right, because Ping, Pang, and Pong, I-A-O, “I” vibrates in the head, the intellectual brain. “O” relates to the heart. “A,” the breath, can also relate to your seminal energies―three brains.
Question: Since we live in a dualistic world, isn't it better to not think positive thoughts...
Instructor: We have to learn how to use the mind intuitively. That is a very subtle skill we acquire through meditation, because even for a job, we need the intellect to help us, but it doesn't mean that the intellect has to be used all the time.
Question: I am saying when you are walking down the street, you are in a car. Isn't it better to just keep it blank? You get a lot of self-help books that say “Think positive thoughts” with this and that. It is automatically going to weave, and some negative thoughts is going to come up.
Instructor: The highest form of thought is no thought. But to reach that point as Samael Aun Weor states in his book Igneous Rose, thought must flow serenely and sweetly like a river without obstruction. Typically, our thinking tends to be very heavy, identified, and disturbing. But thought should be something serene and subtle, to the point that you are not thinking anymore. You are only receiving life. And I remember there is a lecture that Samael Aun Weor gave in which he gave to his students, “A lot of you struggle with your mind. Your mind is bossing you around. You are identified too much with it. Personally, my mind is perfectly under control. You know, there are moments in which I have to teach, and therefore, I use my mental body. But when I don't need to use it, I don't use it.”
Comment: ...the ability to rest the mind is of the greatest value. Because then when you need answers, they come out of nowhere like in the morning or during the day. It's amazing.
Instructor: So in the opera you find that that teaching of serenity very beautifully exemplified by the fact that, as strong as the Prince Calaf is, it may seem that he is very disturbed. Obviously, someone who is singing in an opera is very passionate, but we have to remember that equanimity, silence of the mind, serenity, is a quality distinctly related to Tiphereth, because the human soul, human willpower, pure concentration, is a state of serenity, of calmness, in which there is no agitation in the mind. We talked about this extensively in our lectures on Gnostic Meditation, about the nine stages of meditative concentration [or Calm Abiding: The Stages of Serenity] in which one ascends from a completely distracted mind to a fully serene and concentrated mind. So meditative equipoise is equanimity, is Tiphereth, because when we reach the ninth degree of concentration in which we are fully relaxed, serene, calm. We have reached Tiphereth, psychologically speaking, in terms of the part of our soul that is most active.
Question: When you astral travel, are you sitting in your chair like this or are you laying down?
Instructor: Sometimes when I have meditated, I have fallen asleep in my chair, my meditation chair. Other times, I have lain down to go to bed, doing a mantra in my mind, falling asleep, and having that experience.
Question: What about when you are sleeping? Are you astral traveling or are you lucid dreaming?
Instructor: Well, with astral travel, what happens is, every person projects into the astral plane at night every time one goes to sleep. The problem is that we do so unconsciously. We tend to do so without any awareness. But if we train ourselves, we can take something that is mechanical and make it conscious. So lucid dreaming can happen often when we are working in mindfulness, working with what is known as the key of SOL: Subject, Object, Location.
Be aware that you are in your body. You are the subject. You are observing the objects around you and you question it and interpret: what is your location? Where are you situated? You train your mind like that when you are living physically, living life physically. You learn to do that in the astral plane because we go many places unconsciously without awareness, without any understanding about where we are at and where we are going. But we may have a moment in which we gain insight. We suddenly see ourselves in some place. We question, “Where am I? How did I get here?” You involve yourself in a type of questioning.
Question: But in what conscious state or dream state?
Instructor: And you ask that question and to test yourself. You can either jump in the air to see if you will float or pull your finger. Pull your finger to see if it will stretch. You pull your finger so that it stretches out. You will realize that you are in your lunar astral body and that you are in the dream state.
Comment: They say there are techniques I am trying to do, but sometimes it is not that easy. You can wake up in a dream and you need to give yourself a prompt before you go to sleep, but when that happens you are like "Oh, I am in a dream!” I have had that experience once. Its very unique to say that you know “I am here in the street.” Of course it’s in a dream. You see everything is similar as you see around here. But then you say to yourself, “Oh my God, but I am on my bed at the same time as I am watching this scene.” But to be able to will it, night after night, to repeat that…
Instructor: So what this opera teaches us in relation to that practice is that we need to be very defined. We need to be very passionate in the conscious sense, following the Passion of Christ. We have to be inspired, and the way that we can do that, like we began this lecture, with was with the runes. You know, get yourself good energy. Do the Runes Man, Fa, Ario, Isis, Ur, with the mantra Ram-IO, and work with practices every day so that we feel charged, because if you see in the opera, Calaf, what makes him such a memorable character, so loved by many audiences, is that he is determined to the point that he is not going to let anything stop him. That is the type of willpower we need in our practices, whether it be of astral projection, dream yoga, meditation.
Question: Building up the energy that you spoke about through certain actions, runes, getting solar energy, will that help you in the night time to access these planes, such as energy built up from meditations during the day time?
Instructor: Yes, because when there is no energy, there is no fire; there is no light. If you don't save your energy, if we waste it through negative emotions, we can't awaken in the astral plane, the world of emotions. If we waste our mental energy, we can't awaken in the mental plane because we have no fuel there. And likewise, the sexual energy too, which is the basis of all three, of all three brains, because the sexual energy circulates from Yesod to Tiphereth to Kether in your body―speaking of your body as a Tree of Life.
So we need energy. We need to enthusiasm, which is why I really love Prince Calaf so much as an initiate in this opera, and Puccini, who was reflecting what he went through, because no artist can reflect that if they haven't experienced it themselves. You can't teach something like that unless you have lived it. So he had a lot of passion, meaning he loved his Being so much that he was willing to do anything to work for Her. And so when we have that longing in our heart, when we are very determined, we don't let obstacles get in our way. Instead, we triumph through them and are willing to suffer no matter what the cost will be, because we love divinity so much and that has to come from inside, from experience. When you personally converse with your Divine Mother and see how beautiful she is, you can't help but melt. You enter ecstasy. She will come to you in symbols and dreams and different forms to teach you psychological truths about yourself. You know, as I gave the example of going into the travel agency. She was showing me, She was at the counter saying, “You want to go to the Middle East? Well, you want to return to me? Pay 355 dollars.” Money in the symbolic language has to do with dharma or karma. Paying money means you have to earn certain experiences. You have to work for them. And that is why I teach this doctrine, because I have been pushed by my Being to do what He and She wants, which is self-realization. I know that a lot of people don't want it.
Question: Why not?
Instructor: Because some people realize how difficult it is and they run away. They had to face the Guardian of the Threshold and then they can't face that.
Question: They can't, but what about people wondering they are going to die someday and they are wondering about the day after life? You would think that would be an inducement.
Instructor: So, many people like to follow the moon, like in the opera, but those who want to succeed in initiation are few. But if you are filled with inspiration and longing, we have to feed it daily so that we don't retrogress.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
The reason why many people approach spirituality often comes from the results of organized religion. We often find in popular institutions teachings that, while they resonate with our heart, they are lacking something critical, something profound, and something fulfilling. It might seem unusual that the very thing missing in organized religion is an understanding of sexuality.
People often, on the news and on television, show the results of monastic life, such as in the Catholic Church, which profoundly ignores how sexuality can be used for a divine purpose. In organized religion, they do not know how to utilize the natural expression of the human being, because sexuality is a part of life, and despite what people think, sexuality is also a part of religion, in a genuine sense, not from an institutional dogma.
The reason why there are cases of abuse, violence, is because priests do not understand how sexuality should be used and understood, and not repressed.
People look at sexuality as something filthy, something perverse, or something to gratify the pleasures of a couple.
There are extremes in our culture. In religion, we are taught to reject sex, which has its problems, because as you have seen with institutionalization and the rejection of sexuality, that quality of the human being has to be controlled or understood or worked with, and when people try to repress sexuality, it ends up in forms of perversion, such as molestation of children, deviant sexuality, abuse and degeneration.
But we have this other extreme in our culture, where in America, or all throughout the world, people feel that we should indulge in sex. We should acquire as many sensations as we can, pleasant experiences, relationships, and yet, we look at the results in humanity: divorce, suffering, marital conflicts, pain.
So it is very clear that when we look at the society, people and religion do not understand what the role of sexuality is, from a spiritual perspective, from a divine perspective.
Some people think that sexuality is simply a means to procreate, to create children. That is a very noble aspiration, to be a father or a mother, to have a family, but, we do state that that is not the entire gamut of what sexuality is. To procreate the species, that is one part. People don't really understand that sexual expression, as the natural birth right of the human being, can be something divine, heavenly, sacred: not from the Christian perspective, that we are going to use this act as something to create a child, to create a family, but there is another purpose that has been taught in all the ancient schools of religion and mysteries that, unfortunately, have been gutted out, removed―primarily because people face a difficult problem when addressing this issue of sexuality.
Sexuality in itself, the creative energy itself, has marvelous potential. It can empower our most divine attributes. It can ennoble the soul, our most divine qualities, because the sexual energy is the ability to create. It always acts. It always has to move, to flow, to work. But the question is how? In what way do we use this energy which resides in our glands, whether male, female?
Unfortunately because people have not been educated. We think that sexuality is simply indulging in desire, pornography, prostitution, adultery, and our society worships these qualities and believes that you can indulge in all these actions and think that there are no consequences. But you see the result of what happens to people, the life of prostitutes or adultery.
Sexual action is the most profound action a human being can perform. If we push it away, it churns in the subconsciousness and becomes desire that is never satiated, and then it becomes a monster, which is why priests who don't understand how to consciously work with this energy in a divine way―with practices, with exercises, to transform that energy into something creative, into something expressive―that energy then ferments. It rots. It becomes putrid. This is why you see priests committing such horrible crimes against young people. It is really disastrous.
So we have to look beyond just the beliefs about what our culture wants us to think. It is better if we can analyze and investigate what this energy is, and the purpose of this lecture is to talk about how the creative energy, in itself, has the potential to develop our spirituality, our true nature, which is the soul.
Consciousness and Desire
You might have listened in to previous lectures. We talked a lot about the soul, consciousness, our true nature. Sometimes people think of Buddha nature in Buddhism. It is the pure element of consciousness that can reflect divinity, who is inside, in our hearts and our very qualities of being, qualities like compassion, happiness, serenity, faith, understanding, patience, love.
These are qualities that we have deep down, but unfortunately we have mixed it with impurities: anger, hatred, lust, envy, greed, which religion calls the seven deadly sins. Every tradition has its names for what we call ego, defects, desires. And all that, according to a real meditative tradition, has to be removed. All those negative qualities have to be eliminated. But first we have to comprehend them, understand how our own anger makes us suffer and makes other people suffer, how our own pride injures our neighbor and ourselves at the same time.
We don't really understand how our own egotism creates problems for ourselves, and because people do not understand how to work with the mind in an effective way, they take the most powerful energy available to them―the sexual energy―and they channel it through anger, through violence, through perversity. This is how you have all the monsters of today that are very abundant.
Divine Eroticism and Awakening
So this is a very serious topic and we'll talk about how the soul, known as Psyche in the Greek myth, can be awakened to her true nature through Eros. Eros is the god of love, Cupid, in the Greek myth, which is a symbol. It teaches how our own divine spiritual nature, how through divine love, a divine marriage, the force of Eros, eroticism, awakens our full potential, which is pure, divine.
Different traditions symbolize that work in many ways, but of course, in this lecture we will be very explicit about what these traditions are. You may have heard of alchemy in the Middle East or medieval Europe, Middle Ages. They talk a lot about how we must transform lead into gold. But of course, that is symbolic. It teaches something spiritual, and even psychological.
Our egotism, our defects are like lead. They weigh us down. But if we learn to work with energy, the creative sexual energy and learn to direct it with our consciousness, our soul, that energy is going to empower us radically, and with that force we can transmute, transform, elevate, make our egotistical consciousness become a divine consciousness―lead into gold.
In this image, we have Padmasambhava with his consort, his wife. They are in sexual union, but there are many misunderstandings about what this tradition teaches called Tantric Buddhism. A couple, man and woman, who embody masculine and feminine principles, can combine their energies to work in a very transformative way, and these ancient traditions teach us, whether from the East or the West, how a man and a woman, using the energy that is available to them, and the power and ability to procreate, can take that energy that they awaken within sexual union and transform it, use it to empower and create the soul.
As Jesus taught in the gospel, “that which is born of flesh is flesh” through the common sexual act. But the same sexual act or the sexual act transformed can be utilized for the Spirit, since “that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”
So many Christians ignore what this teaching is about. They have no clue, because people haven't been educated. The physical sexual act can create a physical child. Anybody knows this. But with certain procedures, if the couple retains the sexual energy in their union and uses that energy with the soul, it can transform their marriage and make it a sacrament, a holy union. This is the meaning of religion, from the Latin religare, “to reunite.” This is the highest yoga, from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” It is also known as tantra, which is where this image comes from.
The medieval alchemists, whom people denigrate today, knew this secret science. It was never taught publicly because it has tremendous power. The sexual energy can create anything, a child. It perpetuates the species. Sexual drive motivates every aspect of society, every aspect of life. Even chemicals, compounds, molecules, electrons, atoms, are driven by sexual propulsion, energy―attraction, rejection, repulsion, combinations of energies, a form of marriage.
That energy is everywhere, and in the human being, that most profound force, the ability to create, is in our sexual glands. This energy is so powerful that it can develop a human being to their highest potential.
So for many centuries, this knowledge was kept secret, because unfortunately many people would abuse it. But we are living in a very different age now, where this type of knowledge and spirituality, information, is given openly. The doors have been opened by divinity for people to understand this kind of knowledge, so that people who want to transform themselves and have a method to help them attain that goal, can.
The Symbolism of Alchemy
But of course, the alchemical science was taught in symbols in medieval Europe to prevent persecution, such as with the Inquisition in the Catholic Church, which had completely extirpated the sexual teachings of esoteric Christianity.
Alchemy comes from Allah in Arabic, meaning the God, the name of divinity in Islam. And khemia, the Greek word for chemistry. It is the chemistry of God. It is how a couple, man and woman, using their sexualized polarities, can take their energy, combine them, and restraining the sexual energy, circulate that force, learning to control their egotistical desires, and unite out of love, to dominate their subconscious passions. Those individuals, those couples, can unite with God or divinity, whatever name we wish to give to that impersonal energy or force.
In Greek, the word khemia can also mean “to fuse or cast a metal.” There are many symbols in the Bible that retained this knowledge. Moses lifted up a brazen serpent on a staff to heal the Israelites wounded by divinity for having disobeyed Him. If you study alchemy, the science of metals, bronze is an amalgamation of copper and tin. Copper in alchemical science relates to femininity, woman, love, Venus. Tin relates to Jupiter, masculinity, man. When husband and wife unite their energies, they can awaken the brazen serpent known as kundalini amongst the Gnostics and the Yogis of the East. That serpent can be raised upon a staff, the spinal column, so as to heal our soul from the afflictions of our daily life.
In the Bible, Moses represents willpower, the power and the will to dominate temptation and desire. It doesn't mean to run away from sex, but to approach the sexual act with respect and veneration, with love, to remove passion and desire and connect out of divine love.
So this couple, Padmasambhava and his consort, are not united out of lust, to fulfill their animal desires. Unfortunately, people look at these kinds of images and only think with animality, with satisfying and having pleasant sensations. Pleasure is natural to the sexual act, but it should not be the only basis for which a couple unites. It should be for the couple to really develop their love, their consciousness, to take that energy and, through certain exercises, controlling the breath, even performing sacred sounds like mantras, we learn to circulate the energy. Instead of making go from in to out, to expel it, one makes the energy to go out to in, to circulate it, to control it, to elevate it.
This is the mysteries of Jesus being baptized in the river Jordan. The word ירדן Jordan in Hebrew means “descender.” That energy that is deposited in our sexual glands is divine. It can create life. It is the power of life. The Jews say לחיים L’Chaim, to life, and the Christians call it the Holy Spirit, even if they don't understand what that energy is.
So that power of life can create spiritual life. The couple needs to learn to take that energy, which usually descends down into us and we expel it through a moment of pleasure or a few seconds of pleasure, which are fleeting―that energy instead of descending, we can learn to make it reascend, to make the river turn its course, which instead of going out, it goes in. It circulates as energy.
You have the actual matter or entity of semen, which is physical in either men or women. Sexual fluid, those waters which are symbolized in the Bible as the waters of Genesis, the waters of generation, we can learn to be baptized with that energy, transform it, the substance into divine power through very specific procedures. This is very well documented in every religious scripture in the world, but in allegory.
Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding, the marriage of Cana. He turned water into wine. People think it is a literal story of Jesus getting people drunk, and they can believe that. But more profoundly, he is teaching a couple who knew this science, to transform the water or entity of semen, into energy, into the wine or ecstasy of the spirit, circulating it. And that is how you are baptized with water. He turned water into wine.
The mystics of Islam, the Sufis speak very beautifully about this too. Very abundantly, they talk about love of God. “Muhammad was in love with God,” and they make it an erotic teaching, which scandalizes many people because people like to separate religion from sex, and don't understand that you show true religion by loving your wife if you are a man, and as a woman, loving your husband.
This is a science from Egypt, from Al-Khem. This is a very ancient science that was studied in all the primeval cultures of the world before they degenerated, before people, instead of respecting these types of teachings or laws in themselves, decided to indulge in desire, because sexuality can be for animal pleasure or lust. Or it can be for the soul. It depends, and you have the judge in yourself how that is. This is why we study meditation too.
So this is a very deep topic. We are introducing some of the basics, because to really practice like Padmasambhava without lust, united sexually with his wife, takes a lot of work. Because of course, in the beginning we are full of animality, desire. But with training, we can ride upon desire, like a donkey, as Jesus rode up on a donkey into Jerusalem, the heavenly city. Symbols, but not explained for many years.
The Sufis also mention that, I believe the poet Rumi, who is the most popular poet in the West today, said that when you look at a cup full of water and you have your own desires, you only see your own face in it. But if you are looking as a result of love of God, you will see God in those waters.
He is talking about this. If you are married or husband and wife, male-female, in a relationship that is sexually active, we show our love for divinity in the sexual act. But of course, with training. One has to be educated how to do that. It takes time, but it can be done.
Or if one is filled with desire, we look at the sexual act and see just the gratification of pleasure. That is one extreme.
So this teaching is known as tantra in the East. In Sanskrit, it is a word for “continuum” or “unbroken stream.” It comes from the Sanskrit “tantrum, literally loom, warp.” Hence, it is a “groundwork, a system, a doctrine.”
What is this continuum? When the sexual energy is retained and transformed, it circulates in our body. We have certain energetic channels in our spine, in our body, that can take that energy and circulate it. And we will talk about what that particular aspect of our physiology relates to. But the energy has to be controlled. It has to be contained. That is the only way for energy to circulate. If the energy is released through the orgasm, there is a short circuit. That continuum is broken. So we are very explicit about how tantra works, because there are people who think that tantrism is just about sexually uniting with one's partner, enjoying pleasure, and then reaching the orgasm. There are many people who teach that kind of doctrine, but unfortunately, that type of action feeds desire.
In these studies, we are working to remove our imperfections like lust or desire itself. We want to empower the soul but in order for Psyche to waken, we have to work with Eros and retain that power. Even the 14th Dalai Lama explained that in tantra, the seminal force is never let out. We can contain it, conserve it, and make it circulate through mantras or prayer, through breath work. That is how it becomes an unbroken stream. That is how we perform the loom of God. A loom is where we create clothes. When we work with the energy, we create something. If that energy is conserved and worked with for many years, internally we create vehicles of expressing divinity in us. We talk a lot about this in the studies of alchemy as the vehicles of God, the wedding garment of the soul.
In the Gospels, it is stated that one cannot attend the marriage of divinity without the wedding garment. So that is the loom. We have to create a type of vehicle in which our soul can act. It is not physical, but it is internal, vehicles that relate to different aspects of our psyche within different dimensions. We will be explaining about what these vehicles are in-depth, but I just want to introduce to you that the energy has to create something. It can create a physical child, or it can create the vehicles of the soul, the soul itself, which is like a wedding garment.
Isn't there a saying that you are what you wear? Or “the apparel oft’ proclaims the man,” states Polonius in the play Hamlet. So we weave the soul through this energy. It is a groundwork. It is a system. It is a doctrine, from the word tan, “to stretch or extend.” Of course, this has a sexual significance, as represented by the erection of the male phallus. Tantra refers to “that continuum of vital energy that sustains all things.” So I stated, the creative energy is within our sexual glands, but we find it within everything, from down to the atom, to the galaxy. It is also “the class of knowledge and practices that help us harness that vital energy which can transform us radically, thereby transforming the practitioner.”
Some people also call this transmutation. You may hear this term a lot within the books of Samael Aun Weor and throughout different lectures on this topic. Tantra, alchemy, and transmutation are the same thing. So transmutation is broken down from trans, which is a prefix we find in words like transcend or transfix. It means to take something “across, beyond or through; to change something thoroughly; to move.”
The word mutate we find relates to “causing something to change in form or nature.” So what is transmutation or sexual transmutation? It means, through practice, to take the actual entity of the semen retained within our body, our receptacle, and with certain prayers, mantras, exercises of breath, we can take that actual matter and transform it into energy, mutate it. I know we are probably familiar with X-Men, mutants, people with power, but people don't want to recognize that Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, and many prophets were mutants. They took that energy of sex and created, or recreated themselves spiritually.
They became such great beings because they were married. They had that energy available to them, and through love, they changed themselves. So all those qualities that we admire and beings like the prophets, Jesus, their selflessness, their compassion, they did that because they became mutants. They mutated that matter and became an energy. They carried over that force within themselves, raising it from the sexual glands to the brain, and then to the heart.
If you are familiar with the shepherd's staff so popular with in Biblical allegory, it refers to that image, the serpent of Kundalini rising from the coccyx to the head and then down to the heart. That is how one leads flocks, spiritually speaking, because they have that energy manifest, at least true teachers, with true prophets or gurus. Therefore, transmutation is “the act of changing, or the state of being changed into another form.”
It is logical that that energy which can create a child can create something inside of us. It has tremendous force. It is power of divinity. Divinity creates through the sexual act, through the sexual energy, but it depends on the quality of our mind.
What are we doing with that energy? Are we expelling it out? You can more radically take that force, conserve it, transmute it, make it into something more powerful, because as it is now, it is in a very rudimentary state, but that energy can really grant us access to many things.
Animal Desire and Divine Sex
So as I said, Krishna was a great mutant. He changed his spiritual form, and he had many powers that are documented in the Bhagavad-Gita, which of course, there was a master in the Hindu Pantheon who actually came many thousands of years ago to represent this principle known as Krishna. He is what is known as the Hindu Christ.
As I said Christ, divinity, is not a person, but an energy. It is impersonal. It is universal. And that energy is synonymous with sex. The power of life, the power of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of divinity, is here. Krishna, who is a beautiful symbol of that force, had power to act precisely because the soul or the person was working with that energy very beautifully, very profoundly.
As I mentioned, divinity is the sexual energy. It is a sacred force, which is why even in the Qur’an, the doctrine of the Muslims, some of the sacred names of divinity is Al-Khaliq, “the Creator,” and Al-Wadud, meaning: “the Loving.” And that scripture mentions how, “Did we not create you from a sperm-drop…” which of course can be a literal thing. We are created from the sperm and the ovum, but more profoundly, if you know the science of alchemy, Allah-Khemia, divinity creates in us by taking that very same matter and transforming it, transmuting it, creating the soul, creating life. "And truly it is easy for us if you are but believers." Meaning: people who are not fanatic or dogmatic, but who learn to be through the power of love. Be-lieve. That was the original meaning of the term. Now belief is something just to accept a doctrine with the intellect or to feel something is true, but to not know.
So there are a lot of parallels in different scriptures, but I would like to quote from the Bhagavad-Gita, which is a very powerful statement of how Krishna, Christ, is that creative energy.
"I am the strength of the strong, devoid of काम kama and राग raga. I am धमम kama which is not contrary to धमम Dharma.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 7:11
There are a lot of words from the Sanskrit that have a lot of different meanings depending on the context of the phrase. So the same word काम kama in some context can mean, “sex life.” It can mean “lust.” It could be “desire,” or just “pleasure.” On the contrary, it can be “chastity.”
Chastity is an interesting term. People have been miseducated to think that chastity means abstention from sex. It is logical that people came up with this definition, because when people think of sexuality, they think of animal gratification.
So what does it mean to be chaste? It means not to engage in the sexual act with the orgasm. Chasity simply means “purity, immaculateness.” And it refers to a couple learning to use their energies. They can be sexually connected, but chaste. No confusion there.
People get hung up on the idea of immaculate conception. Was Jesus really born from Mary when she did not have sex with anyone? Obviously, that is a very ludicrous interpretation, because the only way to create is through the sexual act. But the question is: what is the definition of chastity? Obviously, Jesus was born from his parents, and through an immaculate conception, which means through a union that did not involve orgasm. It is not necessary to expel millions of spermatozoon to create a one child, because only one sperm is going to fertilize an egg. It is not necessary. If the couple is working seriously and is working with divinity, if they want to have a child and they are praying to divinity to give them a son or a daughter or a girl, they can concentrate on their divinity and pray and work with the creative energy. If it is accordance with the law of divinity, they can take one sperm out from the man and it can fertilize the egg. That is an immaculate conception.
Obviously, it is very magical, you could say, because the sperm that is utilized in that instance is going to be very superior than one ejaculated out of lust. Obviously, there is a psychological quality embedded in the energy, depending on how we use it. If we are chaste and are pure in our minds and hearts, really loving our spouse and being divine or loving divinity, that energy becomes superior, elevated, for concentration and prayer.
So “I am the strength of the strong, devoid of काम kama and राग raga.” Devoid of lust, and the word for raga is “attachment, grasping; to clutch and to pull; to hold.” Pretty sure we can look at our own lives to see how much of our sexual activity was based on attachment, clinging, holding, grasping. We want those experiences. We chase after them. We change our appearance. We model our behaviors so that we can find a partner. We are grasping at sexual pleasure and sensations and being in a relationship and satisfying those desires. That is raga.
Love is something very different, something divine, which is born in the soul when the time is ripe and the appropriate partner is met. But raga is sexual attachment: wanting to indulge in animal pleasure, the sensations of sex, and grasping at those experiences at the expense of our soul. Desire is one thing, but the soul is another. The soul knows how to love, to respect the partner. Desire only wants to satisfy itself. That is the distinction between an angel and a demon. An angel has love, Eros towards Psyche, but desire only wants to fulfill itself at any cost. So:
"I am the strength of the strong devoid of lust and attachment." ―Bhagavad-Gita 7:11
But then he uses something very interesting here.
“I am काम kama which is not contrary to धमम dharma.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 7:11
So many people get confused about this statement. How is it that he says I am not kama and yet he says I am kama? Because the word kama is dual. It's dualistic. It can mean lust. It can mean love. It can mean desire. It can mean chastity. So he is sexual drive that is not contrary to Dharma, and Dharma means “religious principles, law, truth, reality, virtue.”
So contrary to popular belief, there is a type of sexuality that is divine. It doesn't have to be animal. And in fact, Krishna is saying that “I am a sexual union of husband and wife, male-female, that is not contrary to the divine law.” It is respected by the gods, because the buddhas or angels or masters or prophets became what they were because of certain causes and conditions, spiritual laws. Like, if you wish to create a physical child, there is a procedure through the common way, through lust. But there is also a divine law that says if you want to create the soul, to be born of the spirit, one can use certain procedures or the science of alchemy.
So “I am sex that is not contrary to spirituality.” When we think of laws, we tend to think of laws given by society, by governments. When I mentioned husband and wife, I don't mean marriage papers. People are not married because of a paper or a ritual. Real marriage occurs between a couple when they sexually unite, and that is all that divinity really cares about, because when a couple unites, they are sharing all their mind, their energies, their emotions, their forces. It's a marriage. It is a type of union, but unfortunately, many of us have engaged in relationships or entered the sexual act with many partners without knowing about the Dharma, which is, you know, our situation. But of course, that can be changed and rectified. This is why we give classes on this type of knowledge.
So what I mean by law, Dharma, truth, reality, has to do with the causes and conditions that produce our happiness in the soul, our spiritual development, to help us become like Jesus or Buddha or Moses or the prophets.
Liberation from Desire
So again, I show Padmasambhava with his consort. He stated very interestingly that:
“Lustful people do not enter the path of liberation.”
Marriage, sexual union, the sexual act, can produce one's greatest happiness and one's greatest damnation, suffering. Look at humanity today, as I mentioned―people engaging in sexual behaviors that produce pain. Of course, people being hypnotized by kama and raga, desire and attachment, always go towards those experiences, grasping at pleasant experiences, and don't recognize that that very same act of lust and desire produces pain. Because once lust is fed, sex has culminated with animal pleasure, it can result in disillusionment pain, suffering.
The sexual act itself, tantra, alchemy, is the narrow way mentioned by Jesus in the Gospels.
"Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it." ―Matthew 7:14
Of course, people think of this path of liberation as something devoid of a sexual flavor, but literally, the narrow way is when husband and wife unite, male-female. This is the symbol of the cross. Vertical phallus. Horizontal uterus. They unite so that those energies accumulate, and when directed by the couple, it can crucify our defects. It is a symbol of Jesus going on His Passion. He lived it literally, physically, but he was showing something symbolic and allegorical and sexual.
That energy which can create life can also destroy impurity. That is the nature of the Kundalini. It is the nature of Shiva-Shakti amongst the Hindus, the creator and destroyer. Shiva is the power of the Holy Spirit or the sexual energy, which in tantra. That energy can be directed at any defect, any fault that we have, that we have understood profoundly through meditation, and to remove it so that the soul is liberated and the soul is united with divinity. That is the path of liberation, the secret path that Jesus taught that few find.
It is obvious that humanity does not know the path, because you look at the state that it is in. Lustful people do not enter that path, meaning: they may be married and they may know this teaching and may know about conserving sexual energy and working on the mind, but if they don't actually work on themselves, they don't enter the path from experience.
On our websites we talk a lot about Gnosis, from the Greek, meaning “knowledge,” to have experience born from spiritual practice. We cannot have genuine spiritual knowledge, experience of divinity, if our soul is asleep, if Psyche is dormant, but we can awaken the soul by learning to use this energy. Of course, married couples have much more power to work with, but individual practitioners can learn through pranayama, spiritual exercises, how to work with that energy as an individual until, with work and patience, that person may find their partner in accordance with divinity. They may be helped. They may find their marriage.
This was originally the meaning of monastic life, which of course lost its true purpose. Monks and nuns would practice individually at their monasteries for many years, learning to circulate and work with that energy individually. When the time came, they would be brought their partner and they would learn to practice alchemy. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church and many groups didn't like the sexual flavor of this type of teaching, because, of course, it scandalizes many people, unfortunately. This is the stone of Peter: the rock of offense upon which we should build our church. “Is it not marvelous?” it says in the gospels (1 Peter 2:7-8). Many teachings hidden there.
The Caduceus of Mercury
Lastly, we will talk about how that energy can circulate. The Bible calls the circuitry of tantra, those energetic channels that rise from our coccyx to our brain and then to our heart, the two witnesses in the Book of Revelation. It is known as Ida and Pingala in Sanskrit amongst the Hindu yogis. These are the two serpents that entwine a staff on the symbol of medicine, because we heal our soul like the bronze serpent healed the Israelites in the wilderness by working with these two energetic channels in us.
These two serpents are two forms of energy: masculine-feminine, solar-lunar, copper-tin. So whether we are male or female, we have those two energy circuits in our spine. But of course, men will tend to polarize more of the masculine energy and woman the feminine energy in their physicality, which is why it is important that if one is going to work with this energy in a marriage, you need both polarities to create. Physical man, physical woman. Together, just as they can create a child, they can create something more. But we also have those circuits in our spine.
As you notice, Adam-Eve in the Bible, male-female, Ida-Pingala, Solar and lunar. We can do certain exercises like in books called Kundalini Yoga, The Yellow Book, even some practices in The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor, to work with mantras and prayer and breath work. If we are single, we can take that energy on our own and circulate it, and train ourselves so that we can use that energy to empower meditation. That is the primary purpose of working with that energy, to empower our soul.
But if one is married, of course, it is more energy, more fire, but more difficulty, because the difficulty that couples face is that they are trying not to eat the forbidden fruit. In the Bible, Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. It is a symbol of how they didn't respect the law of divinity, of conserving the energies of God in themselves. They expelled it, or better said: they expelled themselves from Eden, which is a symbol of the state of bliss in spirituality that our humanity once knew before it indulged in desire. This is eating the forbidden fruit, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, of positive and negative, Ida-Pingala: the two witnesses.
That forbidden fruit is, of course, the orgasm. Divinity said, “You shall not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do not take that energy and expel it out of yourselves because the day that you do, you will surely die, spiritually speaking.” This is the foundation of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Of course, the one that tempted them was a serpent, because that serpent above is Kundalini. But if we are filled with egotism and desire, it is the tail of the demons, the tail of temptation
We have many practices that can teach you how to work with energy. To really understand how all the different symbols and traditions teach this science takes many years. It is very extensive studying the Bible or the Qur’an or the Bhagavad-Gita and many scriptures. I just wanted to introduce some of these elements for you to see that is very vast. It is a very profound teaching, which you can verify not only through reading books by Samael Aun Weor or other authors, but really examining the original root scriptures of tantra, of alchemy. It takes a lot of time to learn and understand how this science was taught and also more importantly, how we practice it in ourselves.
Do you have any questions?
Questions and Answers
Question: You were talking about how we can use this energy, how we can eliminate imperfections. Is that only for married couples or is that for single people?
Instructor: Good question. For both. Obviously, a single practitioner is going to have energy to a degree. They can learn to direct that energy through pranayama, mantras, prayer, so that they can eliminate certain defects that they have to a very minor extent. When a person is married, they have available to them the fire of a sun. More power. So when they are sexually united as a couple, they can have more force by which to eliminate defects.
So compare a single person to the light of a candle. Compare a married couple to the light of the sun. You can't compare the magnitude of that force. It is truly tremendous. So obviously, individuals can eliminate ego, defect, desires, but married couples can eliminate much more. They can do the totality of the work. So eventually people who are single, if they really want to pursue this type of path, they have to eventually get married. But of course, that is a delicate thing, a long process, and depends on the unique situations of the individual.
Question: What is the Buddhist root tantric script? I studied online, and I guess many teach adultery and black tantra in the scriptures. Are there any tantra scriptures that are still in tact that the Dalai Lama uses or any in other tradition?
Instructor: Sure. Just to be clear, as I mentioned, there are different forms of tantra. There is positive tantra. There is negative tantra. We call them white and black.
White tantra refers to purity in sex, meaning: never expelling the sexual energy in any form or way, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, to orgasm, or through desire.
You have black tantra, which is exclusively focused on expelling the energies and even taking that energy and directing it into desire, which of course is not what we teach here. That is something different.
That's called black tantra because it is impure. It is the science of demons. People who really feed their lust and desire direct that energy into anger and pride and fear, laziness, to fortify those elements. So obviously in the end, that produces a lot of suffering for individuals and other people.
There is also gray tantra, which sometimes a couple unites periodically. Sometimes they conserve the energy. Sometimes they expel it. Gray is in the middle, but eventually gray tantra degenerates into black tantra, because obviously these desires accumulated from indulging in lust. It becomes comes bigger.
The Dalai Lama talks a lot about Padmasambhava. He wrote a book called The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Bardo Thodol. A lot is about consciousness and dreams, but is one of the most seminal tantric texts available, which you can read about. It talks a lot about states of consciousness and dream yoga, dream science, which you can learn to take the energies of tantra, transmutation, prayer, pranayama, so that your consciousness can awaken from dreams, which is partially one of the symbols of Psyche and Eros. She awakens from her sleep, meaning internally, even when being in the dream state. She awakens our consciousness so that she can investigate those regions, those realms called heavens, different dimensions, which is where we gravitate to when our physical body sleeps. We go out in the dream state usually hypnotized by our own projections of mind, dreams, but we can awaken from dreams by using that energy.
So that is a key text that the Dalai Lama introduces, and I believe one of the most recent publications of that book, The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the works of Padmasambhava especially are powerful. Tsong Khapa too. It has more Mahayana Buddhism, but you know, he teaches the foundations by which to understand tantra, especially. And of course the study of tantra is very deep. [See also Tsong Khapa’s The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra in three volumes, also a key tantric text].
I just want to just give you a bit of the gamut of what that tradition is like, because people were never introduced to tantra right off the bat. This is a very different lecture than what has been done traditionally for thousands of years, because they would make the student study under a guru or sheikh or teacher or prophet, or whatever, for 10, 20, 30, 40 years, before they taught them, “Now that you know how to work with your energy as an individual, now, I am going to teach you the science of how to practice in a marriage.” So there are tantric texts out there and I can give you some references too to write them down.
Question: A lot of tantra from the Dalai Lama, they speak about visualization a lot. To visualize yourself as an enlightened being and visualize a mandala... How does Gnosis combine that visualization?
Instructor: You can read The Mystery of the Golden Flower as one book that we have available, where Samael Aun Weor explains how when a couple is united and after they have meditated profoundly, they can work together, and when they are sexually united, they can imagine an event and their day in which a certain defect that they observed in themselves popped up. Imagine that defect. If it's the husband's defect, he explains to his wife, “This is the defect I saw in myself earlier in this day at this moment. This is what I have comprehended. I noticed I saw lust in myself,” as an example. The partner, the wife imagines with him. They both develop their imagination and visualize that defect that they want to eliminate together. They pray. They do mantras, and they work to eliminate that defect through concentrating upon what we call the Divine Mother.
The Divine Mother Kundalini is Her name. She can eliminate defects when the couple is working together. Of course, that is a very powerful practice. It just takes a lot of communication and work and support, you know. You can read about that in The Mystery of the Golden Flower specifically. The whole book just talks about how to do that. You imagine the defect you want to eliminate, and because the couple is united, they are like God. They can create. Male-female. Adam-Eve. Or in the Hebrew name: יהוה Jehovah, Iod-Havah. י Iod is masculine, Adam. A הוה Havah is Eve, because the word for Eve in the Bible is חַוָה Chavah. Iod-Havah is our divinity.
So the couple has to work together, unite their polarities, and they can visualize together what they want to eliminate in the husband. And then, after the husband and eliminates that defect, together they eliminate that fault because they are sharing that power to create and destroy. They take turns and the wife can present a defect she observed in herself, understood, and meditated upon. They work on that defect together. That is the procedure. Of course, it takes a lot of time to learn that. Actually, you can read about it, but when you are practicing, it is another thing.
Question: Can single people do the visualization?
Instructor: Yeah, they can visualize whatever defect they have understood in themselves and ask for annihilation through certain mantras like Krim, is one mantra.
The vowel S is another.
We have explained this process of meditation in our course Gnostic Meditation on chicagognosis.org if you want to know how to practice that type of meditation. You can study the last lecture in that course that is called Retrospection Meditation.
Any final comments or questions?
So I invite you to study, because I know we talked about a lot of different things, but the main purpose is to present the breadth of this science. It is very deep and extensive. It takes a lot of study and practice and understanding. So if you are interested, you can see some of the books we have available that talk about these things. But also, if you want to read these books and scriptures online, you can go to gnosticteachings.org, which has everything available electronically too.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Today we are going to be talking about karma. Karma has a Sanskrit root. It comes from the Sanskrit word karman, which means “to act.” Now, commonly many of us, especially in new spiritual circles toss this word around frequently, meaning karma is that people get what they are going to deserve, right? If you say something bad, it is going to be bad karma. Maybe you have seen the little tip jars that say, “If you leave money for your barista, you are going to get good karma.”
We hear the term karma quite a bit, but I think that karma should be taken very, very seriously for those of us who want to have mystical experiences and want to radically transform our life, want to achieve that self-knowledge and that mastery of self, which allows us to transform our experiences and our external situation by transforming our internal situation.
If you're looking for a road map to do just that, you need to comprehend karma. Karma, in its true comprehended state, is the key to helping us to get out of ignorance. Ignorance is known as one of the three poisons of Buddhism along with craving and aversion. It is said that if you can eliminate one of those three poisons, you can escape the wheel of suffering, the wheel of samsara: cyclic birth and death, the wheel of existence and escape to Nirvana, right? The heavenly realms, cessation of this cycle that we are stuck in.
But for that we need Gnosis. Gnosis is the opposite of ignorance. We see the same root there “gno.” Now, through true Gnosis and comprehension of karma, we can transform our own psychology quite a bit, and by transforming ourselves, we will see a consequence and transformation of our lives.
So it is very, very critical, and it is also very accessible, because if you are really waking up, if you have really been applying the practices that we have been teaching thus far in this course, like self-observation, retrospection meditation, observing the three brains, observing your internal states and your external states, then you should be able to see karma. You should be able to see very directly how when you say a certain word, it affects the people around you. It affects your own psychology. You should be able to see how one action you do may be a kind action for someone else. It leaves you feeling happy. Maybe you go home at the end of the day and you feel good. Whereas another action, maybe a cruel word, leaves you feeling unhappy, unsettled, frustrated, or angry. That is karma. That is seeing how a cause that you put into motion produces an effect.
The Perplexity and Reality of Karma
So we'll dive a little bit more into karma, but I wanted to start with a story from the Jewish tradition. This is a story about Moses after he died. He went to heaven and God gave Moses the opportunity to look down over the Earth at all of the events and situations and people, everything that was going on and to see it all from God's perspective. Moses was very pleased with this, and he saw that it was good. Its creation was good.
But there was one situation that Moses saw that really bewildered him. It perplexed Moses. He saw a soldier riding his horse along a hot dusty road. The soldier saw a shady tree next to a stream and he pulled over his horse, climbed down and got a drink out of the stream. He took a break. Now as he was climbing back on his horse, he didn't notice that he dropped his purse, a little bag of gold coins and he rode away. Not long after Moses saw that a young boy came walking down the road and next to the tree, he saw the purse full of gold coins. He opened it up and he was astonished to discover this. So he took the purse and he ran home in excitement.
Only a short while later, a very tired merchant came walking down the road and saw the shady tree next to the stream and decided to have a drink and rest for a while, under the tree, and he fell asleep. He awoke when the soldier had come back having realized that he had lost his purse. The soldier shook the merchant by the shoulders and yelled at him, asking where his money was. The merchant swore to the soldier that he had not stolen the coins, but the soldier did not believe him. So he took out his sword and slew the merchant down.
When Moses saw the situation, it really upset him. He went to God and he said, “I look at all of this creation that you show me and I see how all of it is orderly and good. But what is happening here in this situation with this merchant and the soldier? How could this merchant undergo such a tragic misfortune as to be killed by the soldier when he didn't steal the money?”
God showed Moses a scene from previously. The same merchant was in a busy marketplace when he saw a man walking with a bag full of gold coins looking at different items to buy, and this man had at his side his young son. Now the merchant was looking to get enough money to buy something that he needed, and so he went up and he struggled with a man to get the gold coins. But when the man wouldn't give up the coins, he killed the man and ran off with the money, leaving the young boy orphaned. God showed Moses how that same merchant was the one who was killed by the soldier who lost his purse, and how that young boy, whose father had been killed and who lost his inheritance that day, came to grab the purse of the gold coins that should have rightfully been his.
Now that is a nice story. But I think that this story is very relevant for what we are going to talk about today, because we often don't have that bird's eye view. More frequently, we find that we are in the situation of being down on the ground and being very frustrated with what we see, all kinds of horrible acts and all kinds of terrible tragedies that are happening in our world every day. And we wonder: how can it be that there is a just law, a conscious divinity organizing this world, this creation, when these types of terrible things happen? We might become frustrated. So as much as we liked the theory of karma as a belief system that things will turn out the way that they should, people get what they deserve, at the same time, we may have those moments of frustration in which we are not sure that we are able to make sense of them.
The Force and Energy of Action
Now up to this point, we have been talking a lot about energy, and the way that we use our energy is very directly related with karma, which is the law of cause and effect. So I am going to share a quote here from another Gnostic instructor that I think summarizes two very essential points. And the first he says this:
“In each moment of your life, you are creating. The human organism is a transformer of forces, and according to your will and your action, those forces are transformed, and those forces produce consequences, results. This is called karma in Sanskrit, from the word karman, which means “to act.” Karma is simply the Law of Cause and Effect.” —Gnostic Instructor
So we can imagine a crowded marketplace where you are standing in a long line, and it's hot and somebody shoves you. That is a cause, right? And you might turn and respond to them and shove them back, and that creates another cause. What kinds of effects arise from the initial cause and the responding cause? We can see in that very simple scenario a chain begin, a chain of cause and effect.
In this teaching we talk about recurrence, the law of return. That is, all of us as Essences return lifetime after lifetime, pulled by the very energy that we have put into motion. We create an imbalance in nature, a disharmony, and that disharmony will be equilibrated by this law of cause and effect. Every cause will produce an effect, and so this will follow us from lifetime to lifetime until all of those energies have been balanced again. That is why we can understand from previous studies about our human machine, our three brains, sexual transmutation, how energy becomes very important, especially very powerful energy like our sexual energy, because that is the energy with which we create.
In this present moment, we are creating consequences. Your thoughts are creating consequences. Your emotions are creating consequences. Your physical actions create consequences, your words. Everything is creating a consequence. But are we aware of it? Are we perceiving the effects of our actions? Are we perceiving the energies that come into us in each moment as we are stimulated by life, by all these difficult situations or happy situations, the varied experiences of life? Those energies strike us in a given way, strike our psychology, and produce an energetic reaction, a response from us.
We want that response to be conscious. We want it to be a virtuous response. We want it to be a very serene, peaceful, loving response from a place of wisdom, but many times, as you know, being where we are at, we react mechanically and we produce consequences that perhaps increase our suffering rather than diminish it.
Interdependence and Internal Responsibility
So when we look at these situations on life, which are very frustrating, it seems so removed from the small actions that we are taking day-to-day, but we really have to be aware of our small actions, because our society is a reflection of the individuals who live within it. We like to place the blame somewhere else. To say, “Oh, it's them, not us! It was this person's fault, not me.” We have to look very critically first at what is in our control.
What is our response to life? What are the things in our life that we can change?—because they are caused by us, the problems and the suffering caused by us. How can we change and address those problems first and then worry about larger problems that may seem unrelated to us? Although, of course, we know that everything is interdependent and related.
So I'll continue with the rest of this quote from the Gnostic instructor that I mentioned.
“We are not here on this planet to do whatever we want, to just do whatever we please, even though this is the philosophy that our media loves to promote. Our culture loves to tell us that life is just about enjoying all of the pleasures we can, as much as we can, until we die. This is a very convenient lie for those who are benefiting from us behaving in that way, but we do not benefit from this behavior, neither does God, neither does humanity. The evidence is all around us. Because of our behaviors we have created this society. Because of how each of us behaves individually on a day-to-day basis, we have created this world, not God. We have created starvation, poverty, rape, war, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons. We are the ones who created all kinds of cunning ways to cheat one another. We have made all of that because of desire. To change this planet, we have to change ourselves.” —Gnostic Instructor
Now I am not advocating for extremism by sharing this quote. Of course, you know, we might know that there are many pieces of technology, like your smartphone, that have negative effects on the other side of the planet, and yet to be able to function in society, it would be very hard not to support certain industries. We want to do the best that we can, but we also have to realize that the real problem that we need to be addressing is not, perhaps the material problems of life, but rather the problem of desire.
If we can't first understand that in ourselves and address that in ourselves, the root problem, the moral problem, and the spiritual problem which causes our own suffering, then we won't be able to truly address it in the most efficient ways in our world. We might be able to work on some of the symptoms, treat the symptoms, suppress the symptoms, but can we truly get to the root of the disease that is creating a society that is totally out of balance? That is disharmonious within itself and with nature.
So as many things as we as we look at in this world that seem very unjust and unfair, until we truly understand within ourselves how we create those types of imbalances, we can't seek a greater comprehension and understanding of all of the greater things that are happening in this world. Our own divinity can teach us all of the reasons for the different situations that are happening on this planet right now, whether good or negative. But before all of that, our inner divinity is going to ask us whether or not we have been sincere with ourselves: whether or not we have addressed the problems that we have the power to change in our current situation.
Now what is wonderful for us as Gnostics is that when we take this kind of radical personal responsibility for the state of our life and for the state of the world, we are able to use karma for our own self-transformation. We are able to use karma to our benefit, not as a law which mercilessly punishes us for our ignorance and for our mistakes, but as a law that we can use consciously to understand how we can take better actions and achieve a better, higher state of life, a higher state of consciousness, a state of life with less worries.
Now, less worries doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to be rich. We might be, we might not be. It doesn't mean necessarily that we will have our dream job. We might, we might not. But it means that with harmonious actions we can create a harmonious state of being within ourselves and that means that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are in a better position to experience that from a positive point of view and to respond to that situation from a positive point of view, rather than reacting negatively, unconsciously, and mechanically to situations in life and making problems even worse. We have a higher state of consciousness from which to comprehend our situation and respond to it.
The Four Certainties of Karma
I recommend a book that is sold through the Gnostic Store online. It is called Karma is Negotiable. These four rules or the four certainties of karma are extracted from that book, and you can definitely read a lot more about them in the book.
But to cover them simply, this is the road map that I was telling you about. This is what we need to investigate to see if it is true, if we are really experiencing this in our lives and if we find and validate these laws to work with them to our benefit, rather than being unconscious victims of the law of karma, to work with the law of karma—to become, in a sense, a magi, a magician who uses this law to his advantage to very quickly and expediently transform his or her life.
1. Actions produce related consequences
So the first certainty of karma or rule of action and consequence is that actions produce related consequences. Simply put, if you plant the seed of a pine tree, you are not going to grow an orange tree. So whatever you hope to be the consequences, you have to examine if you are taking the actions that are really going to produce those consequences.
Let's say that you really want to have a consequence of great relationship with one of your family members. But in your actions, if you really sit and meditate on your actions, you see that the seeds you are planting are seeds of discord. Maybe you are criticizing them, or you know, doing different actions that create disharmony in that relationship. So you have to analyze your actions and ask yourself: “Are these actions that I am taking in my family life, in my work life, in my relationships and in my personal life, going to produce the consequences that I really want? Are they going to create a higher level of being, a more harmonious lifestyle? Or are they going to create more problems, more complications, more suffering?” Because our actions will produce related consequences.
2. Consequences are greater than their cause
The second is that the consequences of our actions are greater than the actions themselves. So if we think about throwing a pebble into some water, we know that the water will be displaced. But what about all of the creatures that are living in that water? What about the plants in the water? Yes, we might see the superficial ripples of that water, but what about all the ripples that move down through the deeper parts of the water as that stone travels downward?
We know that a few words on Twitter can have enormous consequences, right? A few words spoken at the right time and the right place can move a nation to war, to rebellion, maybe even inspire them to peace.
At the same time, silence in just the right moment can have dramatic consequences. So when we do a small action, like maybe telling a white lie and we think it will have very small effects, we should really pay attention. We should really observe what those consequences are, not just physically, not just in our relationships with the people we have lied to, but also in our own heart, in our own mind, in our spiritual life. What are the consequences of that?
3. You cannot receive a consequence without committing its corresponding action
The third rule is that you cannot receive the consequence without committing its corresponding action. So if we hope to achieve a very high level of spiritual development and spiritual awakening, we have to commit their corresponding actions. You need to take the actions and invest the energy in order to receive receive that result.
If we are investing 99.9% of our time into a bunch of things that, in, perhaps, the spiritual view of things, are irrelevant, and only 0.01% percent of our time into our spiritual life, well, that is how much consequence we are going to get out of it. I am not saying that we should disregard our responsibilities. We absolutely need to live in a harmonious way in society. We need to take care of our family. We need to do our job. We need to be able to have the things to provide for ourselves to be able to live and have a good life and take care of ourselves, but at the same time, if we are over investing in certain areas of our life and yet expecting, you know, tremendous results in our spiritual growth, when we are not investing in that particular area, then we are kidding ourselves.
4. Once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased
The fourth law or fourth rule of the law of karma is that once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased. Once you pull the trigger, you cannot take the bullet back into the gun. Once you say that cruel word, you can never remove that from the other person's memory. The consequence and the effects of what we do are guaranteed.
So if we are performing good actions, we can have great joy in that because we know that those actions, those virtuous actions, selfless actions, that are not motivated by our own egotism, will produce positive results. But, if on the other hand, we are doing harmful actions, we will have to pay for that.
It said in the Bible, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap” (Galatians 6:7). We see it in all traditions, that law of cause and effect.
So we should take these, and we should examine our actions and look at the consequences they produce. Try doing something kind for someone and observe, self-observe yourself. What are the consequences within yourself, within your heart, your mind, your body? What are the observations you have of the other person in that situation? And conversely, maybe you catch yourself doing something else, something that you have come to regret. Well, observe the consequences of that and consider these four certainties of karma, and investigate them for yourself. Don't take our word for it, but truly investigate them in your own life.
Now many of us might feel that it can be a heavy weight to think that we have had many previous lifetimes where we might have done bad things, good things, and we are not sure and now we can't erase the consequences of those actions. Well, the important thing is that we have this present moment and we have each moment after this to use it to our advantage.
This is where that line at the bottom of the screen becomes very important.
5. A superior law always overcomes an inferior one.
The law of karma is an infallible law. Actions produce consequences. We see that in physics. We all know that. But a superior law, a spiritual and divine law of mercy, perhaps, or the law of sacrifice, can be used by us consciously in order to overcome our karma. There is some karmas that we can't totally erase, certain karmas related with our sexual energy. Karmas related to adultery and fornication are crimes against the Holy Spirit, which, we have been taught especially in the Christian tradition, cannot be forgiven. But many of our actions that might have produced negative consequences for us or will produce negative consequences for us, can be overcome by working with superior laws like the law of sacrifice for others.
If we have done something wrong to hurt someone, if we said a cruel word, we can apologize. We can go and try to make it up to them. Now we can't erase the consequence of the previous action, the previous wrong that we have done, but if we are sincere in our action to make up for that or our apology, we may be able to overcome some of that damage. That would be working with a superior law in that case.
Personal Accountability and Causality
So let's talk about superior laws that we want to work with. Well, actually before we get to that, that's actually a few slides ahead, I want to talk first about how we usually respond to any situation. So this is a quote from Samael Aun Weor. He is talking about how many times we experience injustices or what we what we believe to be injustices, and it is very difficult for us to transform them. We, many times, feel like we are the victims of others’ cruelty. The victims of others’ criticisms. That it is other people's fault that we are suffering the way that we are and if other people, you know, would just understand us or respect us or do their share of the work better, then we wouldn't have these problems.
We very rarely want to look at ourselves. We very rarely want to assume that radical personal responsibility that I talked about earlier, where we accept that if something bad is happening to me, I have caused it in one way or another. I have contributed to causing this result.
That also means I have the power to change it. If I had the power to create this, I have the power to change it in a fundamental way. Perhaps not entirely, but I have some power in the situation.
We see here that many of the times, more in these situations where we are very upset, we feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and we complain. Rather than taking that type of responsibility for our lives, we rebel against our circumstances. We get mad at God. We get mad at karma. I think that this is a really powerful quote from Samael Aun Weor, so I'll share it with you.
“We ask for love when we have been merciless and cruel. We demand comprehension when we have never known how to comprehend anyone, when we have never learned to see the other person’s point of view. We long for immense good fortune when we have always been the origin of many misfortunes.We protest against persons who insult us when we have always insulted everyone who surrounds us. Slander annoys us terribly when we were always slanderers and filled the world with pain. Gossip upsets us, we do not want anyone to gossip about us, however we were always involved in gossip and backbiting, talking badly about our fellowmen, mortifying the lives of others. That is, we always demand what we have not given; we were evil and we deserve the worst, but we suppose that we should be given the best.” —Samael Aun Weor
So we should examine ourselves in the way that we respond to situations. When something bad happens to us, do we immediately criticize and gossip about the other people involved? When we are mad that somebody is not understanding our point of view and how much they are causing us to suffer, have we taken the time to meditate on their point of view and how they may be suffering? We want a ton of fortune for ourselves, but how much have we contributed to the well-being and good fortune of others? We make some very profound statement here, and I think it's worth meditating on and reflecting more.
When we respond to life in that way, we are not using our energy in a way that will produce positive results for us. We are actually making our situation worse. We're in a bad situation and we go and we say bad things about the other person, we are going to create more problems for ourselves. If we are in a bad situation and people are saying bad things about us and we learn to control ourselves, to recognize that what other people are saying. If it's not true, then it will pass away, and if it's true, then they are speaking the truth and why should we protest against that? If we learn to be calm and not react mechanically to life, soon enough people will be on talking about something else and we will have freed ourselves from the cycle of creating more and more problems in that situation. We will pay the karma and that situation will dissolve, eventually. Some situations take longer to resolve themselves than others.
But Samael Aun Weor taught us that the best way to get rid of a problem is to stop thinking about the problem. Many times we obsess about our problems and we put a lot of mental energy into that, and then the next time we see that person, we start screaming at them without them even saying anything, because we worked ourselves up over it. That might be an exaggerated example, but if we would merely let the problem be and move on to the other duties that we have to take care of, many times things resolve themselves. And when they can't resolve themselves, we should meditate on it, ask for guidance within.
Ethics: The Foundation of Spirituality
So the best way for us to work positively in any situation we are in life and to start cultivating a foundation for our own spiritual developments, the right environment for us to awaken, to be able to observe more, to be able to comprehend more, to have mystical experiences, is to work with ethics.
Here is another quote from gnosticteachings.org I am going to share:
“Ethics are not just mechanical laws that some external authority is trying to impose upon us. These rules, commandments, or vows have a very specific function, which must be clearly grasped, and that is this: If you perform actions that are harmful, you create disharmony not only in your environment but in your mind. Yet if you follow these ‘observances,’ or positive practices, you create positive energy, not only into your environment, but in your mind. So the purpose of Yama and Niyama or the Commandments of Moses is to stabilize our psychology so that we are no longer vibrating with so much negative emotion.” —Gnostic Instructor
How do we cultivate an energetic environment in which we can have a connection with divinity? Well, if we are going around all day lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, talking about nonsense, what is the quality of our mind? Our mind is filled with energetic garbage, so to speak. So we need a way, we need a method, in which we can harness positive energies and we can restrain negative energies. Working with energy is a form of magic, right? All of us wish that we could snap our fingers and have a better situation in life where we were happier, right? Well if you truly master ethics, if you truly learn how to work with the energy of your own psychology and to respond consciously and positively to the energies in your environment, you become a magician in that sense. This is the basis for magic, is to be conscious and to be controlling energies.
Now we talked in our last lecture about harnessing our sexual energy. That is an extremely tremendous force. And if we don't harness that energy alongside a tremendous effort of ethics and self-discipline, we will create a lot of problems for ourselves, because we will be working with a large, powerful force of energy and we will be pouring it into all of the directions that create more and more disharmony, more suffering for ourselves and for others. We need the Ten Commandments of Moses or Twelve Commandments Moses. We need teachings like Yama and Niyama to be our map, so that we can understand how to work with our own energy within us and the energy that we want to give into our environment. Because when we know how to master ourselves and become masters of the energy within ourselves and within our own psychology, then we have the foundation for becoming masters and kings and queens of nature.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga
I have taken the first two steps from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras of his Eightfold Path: Yama and Niyama. Yama means “restraint” and Niyama means “precepts.” So with Yama, we will be talking about what types of actions we want to restrain and with Niyama, we will be talking about what types of actions we want to put forward. We want to follow those precepts. We want to take those actions in order to produce the type of psychological and spiritual environment in which we can awaken and have a more harmonious lifestyle.
All of us know, if our life is very chaotic, if we have a lot of problems, it is very hard to calm down your heart, to calm down your mind, to calm down your body and to sit for meditation and try to communicate with God. It is very difficult if you have a very disharmonious environment or a very chaotic life with lots of problems. By following these steps little by little, getting control over our own actions, we will gradually be able to transform ourselves and transform our environment as a result. “As within, so without.” This is a very common Gnostic adage.
In Yama, restraint, the first principal is ahimsa, non-violence. Each one of these builds off of the previous one, so that means that before we can even go on to the next steps, we need to look at what mastering non-violence is within ourselves, to the best of our ability. Okay? So first we should have a good grasp on what non-violence means, and how we can restrain violence within ourselves and within our actions in order to then build on to the next one.
I want to point out that violence is not just physical violence, going and punching somebody or hurting someone physically. There are other levels of violence. We can have violence against ourselves. How do we talk to ourselves? Are we constantly saying negative things about ourselves? Because if we know that in our Essence we have divinity within, we shouldn't be performing those types of violent emotional actions against ourselves. In the same way, we shouldn't be criticizing others, whether we are saying those words out loud or whether we are thinking them mentally or emotionally, just having evil will towards others. Those are forms of violence. You can kill someone with a word, with a look, to a degree. You can emotionally wound people with your silence. Sarcasm is a tremendous example of violence on the mental plane. There are many times where people will use sarcasm as a way to criticize and mock others in a very cruel and demeaning way, but then to brush it aside and say that they were joking when all along, mentally, they meant it. And you can sense that. You can feel that disconnect in between somebody's words and what you feel is their intention behind them.
But before we look at it in others, we need to look at it in ourselves. So just becoming aware of what we are doing is the first step, and if we observe something in ourselves that we think is creating violence mentally, emotionally, physically, against someone else or against ourselves and our own inner divinity, then we should try to restrain that as best we can, because it's going to produce negative consequences. It is going to imbalance our mind, our heart, and our physical life, and our relationship with others.
So after that we have satya, which is truthfulness. Now this doesn't mean to go around just all honesty all the time in everyone's face, because sometimes that would be a form of violence. If we know that being bluntly honest would really hurt someone, then perhaps it is best to keep silence.
What we want to restrain is our inclination to deceive people. Maybe we are a secretive person and we take a lot of actions that are very deceptive. Are we living in a genuine, sincere way in our interactions with other people? Or are we being deceptive? Are we lying? Are we presenting ourselves as one sort of person so that we can win somebody's favors, so we can impress the people on the interview committee for a new job, so we can attract a partner that we want? Are we presenting ourselves in a false way or are we being genuine and humble and showing ourselves for who we truly are? Because it may be the case that you get that spouse or that job based on a false presentation of yourself, and sooner or later that will crumble, because you aren't actually meant to be in those situations. It is based on a lie.
So truthfulness goes beyond just what we say. It goes into the very way that we express ourselves in life, and it starts with honesty with ourselves, sincerity with ourselves. As long as we are pointing our fingers at everybody else and blaming them for our situation, and we refuse to take any personal responsibility for our situation, we are not being fully honest. Yes, there are systemic problems that exist in this world, but there are also many problems that we ourselves create in our lives, and we have to address those before we can address anything else.
After we have mastered, or I guess gotten the basics of non-violence and truthfulness, we move to asteya, non-stealing. So again, this isn't just stealing people's money and stealing other people's possessions, although of course, it includes those. How do we steal other people's time? How do we steal other people's attention or goodwill? Do we steal the credit for something when we weren't actually the person who put in the hard work and the effort to do it? Do we, through a false presentation of ourselves, steal a relationship from someone because we attracted them based on a lie, when they should have been perhaps with another partner?
Stealing hits on many levels, and again, all of these are working with energies. You know if we are violent against other people, that violence will come back and will strike us mentally, emotionally, physically. If we are deceiving others, how will we ever see the truth of God, the truth of reality, the truth of divinity, if within ourselves we are producing deception and lies? And if we were stealing from others, then that energy will again be stolen from us.
We say that people who practice black magic, because they don't get their energy from their own inner divinity, they steal energy from other people. They hypnotize other people through those people's desires, whether lust or greed or so on, and they feed their energy from those people.
So in this, we want to practice harmonious action, trusting that, you know, by performing good deeds, by doing our daily responsibilities, we will have what we need.
The next is brahmacharya, chastity. So in our previous lecture, we spoke about this at length. It is essential that we keep our energies pure, that we transform our energies and transmute them. If we are wasting those energies, if we are pouring those energies into harmful desires, into lust, which only seeks personal satisfaction at the expense of others, then how will we ever have peace and harmony within ourselves?
This is our root force, our creative power. Our sexual energy is directly related with our consciousness, our mind, our soul. If we don't have good control over that force, then our mind is going to be all over the place. Our conscious attention is going to be all over the place. Now if we can harness that force through purity, we will have sexuality, but a pure type of sexuality. We will transform that energy according to its divine archetype, rather than in a way that is against the laws of divinity.
We see this in a tree or a rose, which perfectly takes the energies of nature, its own sexual energies, and transforms those energies and follows its own archetype. It becomes something beautiful and harmonious. It does not have to steal from nature, because it's in balance with nature. That is what chastity is.
Many times people equate chastity with celibacy and they think, “Well, if I am not lustful, then I just won't have any sexual desire. Well, then I am just going to have nothing, right? I just won't feel anything.” Chastity is a form of sexuality. There is sexual impulse there, but it is pure. It is loving. It is about divinity. It is about what is best for others and not about selfish desire.
Now, building upon those foundations, we come to aparigraha, which is non-avariciousness, non-greediness: not trying to take more than what we need. This is restraining the part of the animal instinct that always wants to hoard and hoard and get more and get more. You know, it is accepting having enough, to be comfortable, to live a secure life, but not having to always be chasing more and more material things, or more and more emotional sensations.
Maybe we are somebody who is addicted to praise, and so we are always trying to put ourselves in situations where more and more people will praise us and think highly of us, dressing a certain way or making certain jokes or talking a certain way to get more attention. Well, are we stealing in that case? Shouldn't we be happy with enough? Why are we always seeking more? Why are we addicted to those sensations? So again, all of these go beyond just physicality. How are we emotionally using our energy, our sexual energy? How are we mentally using those energies?
Now once we have restrained these negative energies, we have tried to restrain our actions physically, emotionally, and mentally to a certain degree, we need to take actions that are positive physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. So these are Niyama, precepts. These are the positive actions which will produce positive results. The ones we talked about before will produce negative consequences for us. These will produce positive consequences for us and for others.
The first saucha is purity from desire. So again, purity is not just the absence of impurities. Purity is not just having nothing in it that makes it dirty, the way that many times we think of it. Purity itself is virtue. It is beauty. It is harmony. It is divinity in a pure form. Divinity has an energy, has a presence, a very powerful presence, but it is not seeking something. It exists. It has will, but it is not motivated by egotistical desires. Having purity from egotism is what this principle is all about. It is about being in harmony with the energy and the will of our inner divinity, cultivating that connection, and when other things come up to pollute that energy, we choose to hold true to our conscience rather than following egotism.
Next we have santosha, contentment with what one has. So this is pretty much the opposite of aparigraha, non-avariciousness. In non-avariciousness, it is non-attachment. It is non-grasping. It is about not seeking more. Santosha is about the quality of just being genuinely happy with what you have.
Unfortunately, this is becoming rarer and rarer. You see people on the street. Often they don't look very happy. Many people are often looking stressed or worried, but if we were at peace, if we were like a child connected with our inner divinity and fully conscious of everything that is happening in life, we would have this contentment, this peace and serenity with what we have. We would feel joy to be alive, to be in a beautiful world like this, to have the relationships we have with people. So it is quality in itself, but of course, as I mentioned before, we can't often reach these states and so we have at least a basic grasp on Yama, on restraint.
Tapas are austerities, spiritual practices. So we have many practices in Gnosis, which work with energy, and produce very positive and harmonious results for us—to cultivate a lot of energy, a lot of will power, a lot of joy in connection to divinity, and gives us the energy that we need for mystical experiences.
These are things that many times beginning practitioners complain about, having to sit to meditate or do runes or different yogic exercises. We will actually talk about them in a forthcoming lecture, but when you have worked with these and you truly see energetic results that come from them, you understand the value. These practices awaken consciousness, awaken the compassion of the heart, the wisdom of the mind, strength and vitality in the body. So we work with those practices daily in order to produce positive effects for ourselves and for others.
Svadhyaya: Scriptural Study
Next is svadhyaya, the study of scriptures. No matter which tradition you have a relationship with, studying the root scriptures from the highest teachers in those traditions is important, not the modern commentaries that are watered down, but actually going to those roots scriptures, reading a verse, sitting and reflecting on it, meditating on it, praying to divinity, “God, help me understand what is meant by this verse.” Maybe you read a passage and one line sticks out to you. Taking that one line and sitting down praying, praying for guidance and then meditating on it for 15 or 20 minutes, writing down the results that you got from your meditation—that is a great way to study the scriptures, not just on an intellectual level, but emotionally and spiritually engage with them.
Ishvarapranidhana: Remembrance of Divinity
And finally, Ishvarapranidhana, continual remembrance of God. This is our shield. If we are in remembrance of God, deeply and profoundly feeling the presence of our own inner divinity, how can we steal from others? How can we lie, or be violent, or be greedy, or be lustful? If we feel God within us, if we feel this contentment with what we have, if we feel energized by our spiritual practice, inspired by the wisdom of scriptures, and we feel pure in our heart like a child, innocent like a child, well then, why would we want to harm others? Why would we want to do these egotistical actions, which we know from our own study of our life and of karma, produce harmful effects for us and for others.
Working with these steps is the foundation for being able to manage your own energy, and as a result, transform your life, to create a lifestyle that is harmonious for spiritual practice. This might mean giving up, temporarily or for a time, distancing yourself from certain people or certain environments: not going out to bars or places where you know there are many lustful people, places where there is violence, but staying in environments and with people who you know cultivate positive energetic responses in you.
Especially at the beginning, this is really critical, because we kind of have a bandwidth, energetically, of how much we can transform before we become overwhelmed and hypnotized and fall asleep and just get sucked in again—like turning on a really really powerful engaging TV show and just becoming immediately hypnotized.
Now, maybe a master could do that and have no problems staying awake and maintaining themselves, but for many of us, we might get sucked in. So maybe we need to take a break from those types of TV shows and just focus on calming down our mind, calming down our heart. Stop taking in tons of impressions and energy that is disharmonious and actually let our mind set a little bit so that we can see: “Why am I suffering? What is hurting in me?” rather than running away and distracting ourselves, really looking at our suffering, looking it in the face because it's there. Whether we choose to see it or ignore it, it's there. By looking at our suffering, we will be able perhaps to see what has caused it and then perhaps to understand what actions we can take, such as these positive ethical actions, to resolve it. So we work with that energy daily.
Now finally, I want to conclude with sacrifice, because sacrifice is the ultimate tool that we use to negotiate our karma. Previously, the instructor mentions that we have three factors in Gnosis that are very commonly talked about. The first being death, psychological death, which we gave a lecture on. The second being spiritual birth, which was the previous lecture. And the third is sacrifice for humanity, conscious, willing sacrifice for humanity.
If you have ever done something and then you felt remorse for it, genuine remorse, you wish that there was a way you could take back that deed. You wish that there was a way you could go and make it up to that person. That is the type of longing that the sincere spiritual aspirant has.
When we look at ourselves, when we look at the problems that we have created for ourselves and the pain that we have caused others, we have a longing to do something positive to resolve that. Not just so that we won't have to have those negative consequences, but because we genuinely, deeply comprehend the harm that we have produced and no longer being ignorant of that. Now having the knowledge of how much good we could have done instead, we wish to take actions to produce that amount of good, to achieve our potential as a spiritual being.
We follow the guidance of our inner divinity and we find the best way that we can sacrifice for others. Sometimes that means going to the soup kitchen or donating money, or donating clothes. Those are good acts, but many times sacrifice goes beyond mere service for others. It is a sacrifice to practice the ethics that we just talked about. For many of us, that is a tremendous sacrifice to change our lifestyle, our way of thinking, our way of talking and acting and feeling, to try to transform our lives down to a more ethical lifestyle. But the results of doing that for the people in our lives and for everyone we may meet in the future, the results of that for ourselves, are extremely positive. So whether or not we have money to donate or time to go volunteer, or perhaps opportunities to teach spiritual teachings to others, we can all make a tremendous sacrifice by working on ourselves to become better people.
People who follow their own inner divinity, who live a harmonious lifestyle, feel sincere compassion and act on that compassion in intelligent and wise ways for the benefit of others. If we can't create that environment for ourselves, it becomes very hard to truly create it for others many times. We think we are helping someone, and really we are just adding more trouble to the situation.
Many times we want to help someone else so that we don't have to look at our own problems and deal with our own problems. So in the beginning, let's not get confused with over-sacrificing ourselves and giving up everything to take care of others, so that then we have no energy left to take care of ourselves. We need to be able to take care of our own responsibilities, to manage our own energy, to be living a harmonious life ourselves. By doing that, we are producing a tremendously good effect for others, everybody around us and for humanity as a whole. And then from that state, we might be able to know what is intelligent action, to be able to help others whether spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, whatever ways we have a unique vocation or calling to do so.
But we should not be sacrificing for others to the extent that we ourselves are getting burnt out, and then have no energy left to work on ourselves spiritually. That would be counter-productive.
Sacrifice builds upon birth and death. We need the death of our own egotism. We need that work on our own psychology and our own defects related with Yama, restraint. And we need the birth of our soul related with Niyama, those spiritual precepts that we can follow, those positive actions that we can take. But in addition to that, we need to also have a mindset which values the benefit of others as well, which hopes for the good benefit of those around us, of our family members, our friends, of all of humanity and all beings.
As our teacher Samael Aun Weor stated:
"Those who only preoccupy themselves with their own spiritual progress and do not work for others achieve absolutely nothing. Whosoever wants to progress must sacrifice the self for others." —Samael Aun a Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
We know, as we talked about at length, that to sacrifice the self is to sacrifice our egotism. That doesn't mean that we run ourselves dry trying to run here and there and do favors for everybody. We sacrifice our self-interest, our selfish desires, our desire for more attention, for more pleasant sensations, for more praise—whatever these desires are that are beyond what we actually need to survive and to be able to take care of ourselves and our duties. We sacrifice those egotistical desires and instead spend some time reflecting on how we can be a source of benefit to the people around us.
We all have jobs. Many of these jobs are focused on service, customer service. How can we transform our job and make it a place where we don't just drag our feet and try to get the next paycheck, but really try to do a good job so that our customers or our clients or our co-workers benefit from from having us in that environment, from speaking with us from the work that we do? That is a great place to start, working with this factor sacrifice.
But in addition to that, we need to be conserving our energies, putting them into positive actions, positive spiritual actions, and we need to be restraining our own egotism, our own negative habits, our own negativity, and trying to replace that negativity through meditation with positive insight and comprehension from our inner divinity. If we have a negative thought, it's not just repress it and push it down, but to truly investigate, “Why am I so angry?” To go, to pray, to sit and to meditate on your anger and look at it. Maybe meditate on the other person's point of view whom you are angry with and see how they are suffering, and to truly work at it until you gain some comprehension that helps you to feel a positive state, a virtuous state, a compassionate state. Then you have achieved Gnosis. You have achieved a bit of Gnosis about yourself in that situation, and when we know ourselves, we come to understand others much, much better. When we understand others, then we know what we can truly do to help them.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
Maybe some of you may have heard of this concept before, of letting yourself die to attachment or desire. But what does it mean in practice? It can be a very lofty ideal, but sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what is meant by that. We are going to go through some of the different teachings around this topic of psychological death, break it down a bit, and then we will finish up with a practical aspects of how we might hope to achieve this little by little in our daily lives.
I want to begin with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. He states in his book Tarot and Kabbalah:
“Intimate self-realization costs has a price, life itself.” ―Samael Aun a Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
The intimate self-realization, which is related to the work of our soul and our spiritual development, costs life itself. What does that mean? Well, I am going to keep you waiting and I am not going to explain right now what it means, but we will come back to it a little later on, and should it keep it in mind as we talk about death, because of course, death is something that all of us should be very aware off.
All of us will die one day physically. Although this is unavoidable part of life, many times we try to avoid it, even if the news or in a media, we often see that images of death can be covered up: funerals, closed caskets. We have a society that tries to shield us from death and keep us focused on goals we want to attain from life: wealth or status, worldly success. Many times we are glad to avoid the topic of death, because we fear death, although we know it is inevitable. We have a strong fear of dying. Part of that has to do with a loss of all of those things that we cling to and hold.
Another part of it is fear of the unknown. What comes after death? We might have many beliefs about this or many ideas about this, but who truly remembers dying? Who truly knows and has experience what will happen to them after death?
We sometimes hear stories of saints or prophets or masters, who were crucified or burned alive or tortured and killed―many gruesome deaths―and yet we hear that throughout all of that they had a type of serenity and love, even for the ones who were harming them. So, why were they not afraid of death or even the pain associated with it? What was the difference between us, as common people, and those who have achieved the higher degree of self-development, spiritual development? What comes after death?
Well, in this teaching we understand the law of karma, the law of cause and effect, and we know that whatever actions we sow in this lifetime, we will reap the effects of those actions, whether in this life or after this life. So what comes after death is entirely determined by what we do today, maybe what we have done yesterday―what we will do tomorrow and for the remaining days of our life. And yet, many times we find that it is hard to live by that principle. Although we know that we should be treating others well, perhaps it can be difficult.
So, I want to begin our talk today with this quote from the Bible from the Book of James:
"What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.” ―James 2:14-17
I am going to begin this discussion today by thinking about: what do we put our faith in? We may say: "I have faith in God" or "I have faith in,” perhaps, something like “reincarnation or heaven or hell.” We may say we have faith in karma, and that we know if we do these good deeds today, that we will reap the benefit for them after this life comes to an end.
But does that faith produce works? Do we truly see that our actions reflect the things we claim to have faith in? Or is that faith merely a belief? And when push comes to shove, do we act in a way that we feel will get us the one up now?
Maybe we have to lie to get what we want in a certain situation, and even though we say we have faith and the truth, and we know that lying is bad and will cause us pain later on. Does our action reflect that we truly know that? Or is it merely a belief, because we see that faith, if its merely a belief, and does not reflect itself in our actions and in our works, is dead. It is dead faith.
We want living faith, because when we speak of faith in this tradition, we try to emphasize that it is different from mere belief, that faith is something that we know from direct experience, that we know so deeply, that no matter what anyone says, we will not be shaken. We would not have to react or argue with them. We will not doubt ourselves, because we would know that this is true, because we have lived it. We have experienced it directly.
I will give you an example of something that most of us, if not all, have living faith in. Perhaps you burned yourself―whether it is on a hot tap or a fire. And maybe when you were a little kid, there was something hot around, and you accidentally burned yourself. Now, if you know nowadays that something is hot or you see a fire, no matter how many people tell you: "Oh, no no! Go ahead! Touch the hot stove!" or "stick your hand in the fire! Go ahead, and step into the fire!"―you will not do it. Maybe if your house is burning down and there is something very, very precious, you might risk it, but must of the time, if there is not a very good reason―no matter what anyone said to try to convince us―we would not touch that fire, because we know we would be burned. We know that from experience, and it is just not worth it to take someone's word for something. We already know it is true.
In the same way we do not have to argue with people about whether or not grass is green, or the sky is blue, because we know these things. And even if somebody comes up to you and tells you: "No, the sky is neon green!"―you will just perhaps think "that's a little strange,” but you wouldn't have to waste your time in an argument or doubt yourself, because you can see that that is true.
So, when we hear that prophets and saints, that Jesus and Buddha, Krishna, all these great masters have given us some message that divinity, that angels, that demons, hell and heaven, that these types of places and beings are real, it can be hard for us to have faith in that if we don't have an experience or remembrance, or we have not seen that directly. So it might feel that we have to just believe and take that person's word for it, that we have to trust that the saints and prophets, who preach these type of messages―they experienced it―and so we should take their word for it.
But the reason that Gnostic path is such a difficult one, is because we take nothing on mere belief. We truly have to test and investigate these teachings, the teachings from beautiful masters, beautiful spiritual teachers, and we have to test them and evaluate them in our own experience and in our own practice. And that takes more than just normal efforts. It takes super efforts. And, so, in this tradition we work very hard to do that.
The Reality of Death
I start with this sentiment about faith, because all of us know for a fact that we will die. We know that intellectually. Perhaps we’ve seen our loved ones die and that hit us with a lot of grief and, perhaps, made us think about our own mortality. But do we truly deeply comprehend the reality of death? Do we know it so deeply that we live our life truly knowing that this day could be our last? So that co-worker or friend, or family member, who you have a grudge against, and you know that: "OK, yeah, sure I should let that grudge go,” but still it eats away at you. Do you truly stop and think: "If I die tomorrow, would this grudge really matter to me? Would getting my revenge on this person really be that important? If I would have die tomorrow, wouldn't I wish instead that I felt love for them? That I have forgiven them?"
So, we have to question whether or not we deeply comprehend the reality of our inevitable death. Because if we did, perhaps we would be living quite differently. So, one practice is that at the end of each day is to contemplate your daily activities, to do that retrospection, meditation of everything that have said and done, thought and fell that day from the perspective if you were to die that night―and to think if you would have done something differently, because, hopefully, God willing, the next day will have another chance to try to do it differently.
Death in the Tarot
There is Arcanum in the Tarot that is very commonly associated with death. The Arcanum of death is Arcanum 13. But as you noticed here in the Tarot card from the Gnostic, Eternal Tarot deck, Arcanum 13 is immortality.
So, there is a relationship there. Immortality has in its center the root "mort,” which relates to death. But "immortality" is to be able to overcome death, to be able to resist death. So even in this card, we see the rebirth―reaping the wheat, representing death. And we see young wheat that is growing in the period of, perhaps, youth and we see up above the flowers, representing birth and rebirth.
As we think about this hierarch of the law, reaping the grains of wheat, Samael Aun Weor explains in his teaching that these grains of wheat―each little grain and the long grains and the short grains―represent vital energies, vital qualities that we have, vital values.
We learned previously about the three brains. We have an intellectual brain, our intellectual center, which processes intellectual energy. We have an emotional brain, which processes emotional energy, and we have a motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which processes energy in those levels. And those three brains are mechanical. They are machines. And each of those brains run on a certain type of fuel, which we can think of as vital values. We can compare each one to, perhaps, an engine. And just like the engine in your car requires gasoline to run, each of these three brains requires vital values to be able to run.
Now we have a kind of funny word to talk about―Bobbin-Kandelnosts, but whether or not you remember the word, it is important to know that at the beginning of our life, each of us are given a different number of vital values in each of our three brains, and that after the quantity of vital values has been used up, that that brain will no longer function properly.
If we use up all of our intellectual values, perhaps, we will have it illnesses of the mind, mental illnesses. If we do so with our emotional values, we might have disorders of the emotional center: depression, anxiety. And if we do so with our motor-instinctive-sexual center, we may have very difficult physical illnesses as well.
What is important to recognize is that conserving energy is very important. And when we have some states of Being, like pride, or envy, or anger, or lust, we use up a lot of those vital values. Whereas, where we have a calm disposition, when we are able to respond to life with genuine compassion and serenity, we do not use hardly as much energy, and we prolong our life by preserving those vital values.
So, the qualities that waste the most energy are egotistical. You might think that you have a problem at work and so you need to deal with that problem at work. But let's say that you are home from work, and there is nothing you can do to work on that problem right now, but you are spending all night or maybe your whole weekend worrying and thinking about, and trying to figure it out, and going back and forth, thinking the same thoughts over and over, and really getting anxious about it. This can waste a tremendous amount of energy. At the end of the day, you just to have to go to work and take and action. You just have to do what you can to solve the problem.
But we tend to think that we can use our intellectual brain to solve the problem. This is might be helpful for certain types of problems, but for many problems it is actually the wrong center be using to try to fix them. For example, in that case, perhaps, we need to use our motor center to act, to do something, to take care of it. We have to judge each situation on case by case basis. But we also need to be observing how we are responding to the different situations in our life and evaluating how much energy we are expending, and what are we truly gaining from that energy. We know that: "Yes, it takes energy" to be able to sit for half an hour or an hour to meditate. But what do we gain from an hour of meditation?
I think that there is no one, who would truly say that they regret meditating. But perhaps we spend an hour yelling at the person that we are angry at and we might come to regret that later on.
So, thinking of these types of perspectives, when you review your daily activities, what are you truly getting out of it? Are you preserving your life force, your vital values? Or are you squandering it on things that, when the moment of death comes, will not have as much significance as you might feel they do in this moment?
Opposing the Ego
For that reason, we seek in the study to radically oppose our ego, our own sense of self. The things that we have planned for this life, that we want for this life, that are entirely egotistical, that are about our prestige, our success, our material wealth, all of these things. Yes, we need to be concerned with worldly affairs to certain degree, in order to live and to survive in this society, and to do our job, but when do we go overboard? When are being wasteful of those energies, and when are we actually using those energies in an appropriate amount to complete the daily tasks that we have to perform?
So that is why we seek annihilate our ego entirely. This work takes a very long time, but this is a work of this arcanum, because Arcanum 13 is related with Gospel of Judas Iscariot. And most of us will be familiar with the story of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. He sold Christ to the authorities for 30 coins of silver. Those 30 coins of silver can have many levels of meaning, but simply put, they might represent worldly desires: desires for wealth, desires for sensual pleasures, desires for power and fame, sensation.
So, do we sell our Intimate Christ for the worldly sensations, for the desires of our personality or our ego? Do we sell our spiritual life for worldly life? And when the moment of death comes, when everything that we have accumulated in this world, when life has taken away from us, what would we truly have left? What would we have invested into our soul, into the part of ourselves that will go on after death?
So, let's look at what Samael Aun Weor has told us about this arcanum. He says that this Arcanum relates to our true identity:
“Common and ordinary people do not have a true identity, because only those phantoms of the pluralized “I” are expressed through them. Thus, after death each human is a legion.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
We talked before about ego in contrast with consciousness and personality. The ego we sometimes refer to as one, like we need to annihilate the entire ego, because it is an aggregate, but it is an aggregate of many different egos, many different desires. We might experience in any given moment that we desire multiple things. Maybe we want to go out and get some exercise today, but we are also really tired, and we just want to sit on the couch. In that moment we are pulled by two desires.
Or, perhaps, we want to scream at the person that has just criticized us, but at the same time another part of us troubles to have a kind reaction, to express compassion instead of anger.
Many times we feel this conflict. That is why Samael Aun Weor is pointing out here that common, ordinary people like us do not have a true identity. We have a plural life identity. We have all these little "I's" that in each moment are fighting for control of our machine, our human machine, fighting to drive the intellectual center in one direction, and the emotional center in another direction, and a physical center in another direction. So, we need to be aware of that, that many times we say: "Oh, yes, this is truly what I want, this is me. This is what is important to me and what I value. I value honesty!" But a little while later, just in a right situation pressure, we betray the things that we have said we value. We lie when we say that honesty is our policy, or any number of things.
So, as much as we believe we may be good people, who would never do certain immoral actions or unethical steps, at the same time we have to realize that we don't truly know ourselves, that there are depths of our identity, in our subconsciousness, that would terrify us. We don't know what we are capable of in a given situation, when pressures are just right. We don't know what might emerge out of us, when we are truly frightened or when we are tempted by something more than what we can resist.
We have to recognize the part of ourselves that we are aware of, but also always are thriving to know our deeper self―things about ourselves that might emerge in our dreams or in our fantasies, and we are examining: "Who am I really?" Because everything that emerges in your mind has a relationship with you. It is a part of you. So, we might think some angry, hateful thought or a violent thought, and then we say: "Oh, but I am not a violent person. I would never do that!" But if it is a part of our mind, it is a part of us.
We are more than just our actions. We are more than just our thoughts, more than just our emotions, more than just our instincts. These people are complex.
Consciousness: Our True Identity
So, what is soul? Soul, which should be our true identity? Samael Aun Weor states:
"Whosoever incarnates their soul acquires true identity and thus already IS. Present humans are not self-realized beings.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
This points out to us that we have more to accomplish, that we are not in our most developed state. We try to state that people nowadays are the most evolved civilization that there has ever been on this planet, but when we look at the state of our world, when we read the newspapers and hear about all the violent acts that go on, we know that it cannot be true, that people cannot be living at their highest potential of spiritual development, compassion and wisdom, and virtue, and all those qualities that we see represented in saints and Christ-like figures.
So those figures are divine because they are representations of their own inner divinity, of their own inner spirit. On that level our Being, our spirit, is perfect, and is perfect knowledge. It does not have to think, because it knows, because it is truth and beauty, and perfection, wisdom, love and virtue. It already is. But how do we reach a state in which that spirit is what is emanating from us? Physically, emotionally, mentally―in our words, in our deeds.
Willpower and Desire
The next section here on willpower gives a very important clue onto a big obstacle that we might encounter:
"Present humans confuse the force of desire with willpower. We need to engender Christ-Will.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
Many times we had a desire that is so powerful that we felt we would do anything to pursue it. Maybe this was a desire for job or a new car, or certain partner. Any number of things, maybe even a desire for certain type of food. We take all kinds of actions and maybe we have violated our own ethics in order to be able to get what we wanted. All the time we thought we were fighting for "what I want,” that is "my will,” but truly from a spiritual perspective, in those moments, we were controlled by desire. We were not in control of that situation. The desire was driving us, that egotistical desire was driving our human machine. Perhaps, a desire was to get revenge on someone who has betrayed us and truly hurt us, and all the time we felt: "This is my will. My will is to get revenge and make this person feel the pain that they would make me feel.” All along we think we are doing our will, but afterwards, when the deed is done, and we see the suffering, and that we have a look in the mirror and know we have truly hurt someone that we once cared about, then we might question: "Was that really my will? Or was I being driven by a demonic force within myself? An egotistical force that now I wish I had never had that desire in the first place?”
So, we need to be analyzing our day every day, because we can catch things. We can see things. We can recognize a desire, and we can comprehend it before it drives us to take actions that are harmful for ourselves or for others. When we do that, when we meditate, when we pray, when we ask God to illuminate our mind, to help us to comprehend the truth, and what is the right action in those situations, we can begin to gain true willpower. Because our will should be united with the will of our inner divinity.
Our inner Spirit is the best part of each one of us. If every person could reflect their Spirit and perform the will of their Spirit, they would perform truly miraculous deeds. They would be a beacon of love and wisdom. So, we want to engender that―that Christ-will, the will of divinity within us, our own unique representation of divinity.
Many people might claim that they feel they are channeling the divine, and maybe in a moment they have a mystical experience that is truly beautiful and is divine. But can we sustain that state on a regular basis? Or is our willpower constantly overrun by different desires that are driving the car?
The Relationship Between Life and Death
We need to ask ourselves: "Who do we live for? Do we live our lives for God? For the will our inner Spirit, to truly become the best that we are able to become under the guidance of our inner Father? Or do we live our life for an ego? For the worst parts of ourselves? The demonic parts of us, the vices that we carry within?”
Samael Aun Weor goes on to say that:
"Life and death are two phenomena of the same thing.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
In every moment that we are living in a certain way, there is another rout of possibilities that is dying. Every time we come to a fork in a road and we choose to go right, we are not going left. Right, simply put. When you make a decision, you are putting into motion a new chain of events, a new chain of a facts. And, so, when we act on a harmful quality, we are giving life to that harmful quality. We are feeding it our energy. We are letting it live and express itself through our body, through our heart, through our mind, through our words and actions. We are giving it more strength and vitality. But what dies as a consequence of that?
If I spent 75% of my day thinking about me, doing actions for me, pushing others aside, so that I can get at the front of the line, well―what is dying in the 75% of my day? What is dying, is the will of Being, the life of my own soul, the possibilities that my Spirit might have performed through me had I truly been awake, had I truly been mindful and at one, and in a state in which I could hear the will of my inner divinity, could feel that will, could be that will and perform it.
Every time we make a decision or we say something, we are sowing the consequences. We are sowing the causes that we will reap different consequences. So, we need to be aware of that, when we go and we evaluate our life.
We see here a butterfly, coming out of cocoon. What has to die for the butterfly to live? Well, we know. If we know a little bit about biology, we know that for the butterfly, the caterpillar has to die. A lot of us like to think that we are already butterflies and we are flying around and maybe we know so much about what there is to know, and we are really living life for a full potential. Some people like to think that. But the reality is we are actually closer to that of the caterpillar. We are very limited in our thoughts, in our emotions, in our physical abilities, in our spiritual abilities. We are not merely invisible. We truly cannot fly into the higher realms of existence, and experience and see the truth of reality in nature for ourselves. We have a very narrow ability to perceive.
What happens of the caterpillar? Does it know what it takes to become a butterfly? What if the caterpillar refuses to die, refuses to build the cocoon, fights to death to preserve its existence as a caterpillar? Feels that being caterpillar is the height of all there is to be and it chooses instead to focus on getting fat, eating a lot of leaves, reaming the earth and never wants to fly? It will never know what potential it had.
This is the analogy here with the fool. We say that we have an Essence. We have a seed of the soul and we believe that that there is an ego and our personality in our physical body, that that is "who I am,” and that is all that we know of ourselves. So, to give up things that “I egotistically want, that maybe I spent many years wanting and worked for, a certain number of my bank accounts, a certain promotion at work, a certain type of spouse, to give that up―seems like giving up myself. What else would there be for me if I didn't have that?” Because we do not know what it would be like to truly experience possibilities of our soul and of our Spirit.
If we knew that, if we knew what it was to be the butterfly, which actually is used in many symbols to represent the soul, the psyche, if we knew what that was, we would be so glad to let that caterpillar go, because we have already experienced what the caterpillar is like. Now we want to know what it is to be a fully self-realized being.
But in order for our soul to live―the ego has to die. That is why life and death are part of the same thing. In every moment, in order for you to live, something has to die. Even if we are vegetarian, we have to kill plants in order for us to live. And in order for anything to live, for anything to be born, there must be death as well.
Jesus said the same thing in the Bible. In the Book of John he said:
"Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it bares much fruit." ―John 12:24
So, we want to know what fruit we could bare if we are performing the will of our Being. Perhaps you had an experience where you have done a good deed, a truly selfless deed, and maybe something just came over to you in that moment and you put aside whatever else you were doing or worrying about to truly help someone who needed help. The consequences of that action were far greater than the act itself. Some of us are fortunate to have had that person come back to us at some point and share with us what a difference we made in their lives, but sometimes we never find out. Maybe, that kind word or that kind deed, was the only thing helping that person to keep going or the break that that person finally needed to get to the next stage of their life. Or maybe it was the example of kindness that gave that person faith in humanity, that gave that person faith in their own goodness.
There are many jaded people in the world today, unfortunately, very cynical, who believe that it is naive to believe in goodness or in these virtues of the spirit. Those people were have been hurt enough times to know that trusting people can sometimes cause pain. But trust is actually a quality of strength, because after that period of naivety, after that period of cynicism, we come to realize that regardless of getting hurt, what we do is a reflection of who we are. If we truly want to reflect on our life and on ourselves with self-respect, with dignity, with the piece and serenity, they come saying: "Hey, maybe I didn't always did a great job, but I truly know that I strived every day of my life to do the best that I could, to do the will of my inner divinity, to do what my conscience called upon me to do.” That brings the type of serenity that no matter what anybody else says about us, no matter how we are judged or persecuted by the world, or whatever criticism our loved ones might say, we know that we are truly striving for the best that we believe we are capable of―truly trying to follow the guidance of our inner divinity, to manifest greatness of self.
We have to realize that all these saints and prophets, and great beings, like Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha, all of them were once people just like us, whether in that lifetime or previous lifetimes. All of them had to fight. Of course, yes, it was partially the grace of divine will that all of us have access to the mercy of divine will, but also it was a result of their own super-efforts, their tremendous discipline to work on themselves and to strive for the best of what they knew they were capable of in their heart, in their conscience.
Samael Aun Weor also says that: "When one dies to the cosmos, one is born for the Absolute."
The cosmos is representation of this material world, the realm of Samsara in Buddhism, the realm of cause and effect, in which we are chained to the wheel of suffering. The Absolute represents the unmanifested reality, the perfect divinity, nirvana in Buddhism, the part of us that is deeply within us right now that we can realize, that even in this body we can have access to the Absolute, to nirvana, to the state that is free from suffering, because it is, because it knows, because it is perfection and love, and wisdom. But we have to die to this world to be born into that world.
And that is why Jesus also stated in the Book of Mathew:
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it." ―Matthew 16:25
Jesus is speaking there as a representation of the Christ, that is older divinity, that is universal. That is an energy and an intelligence that is beyond anyone person, but can manifest within us―you and me, if we work, if we eliminate our ego, if we die to what we feel right now is “my life and the things I want, the things that my personality and my culture, and my family says, I should do.” We give up those temporary pleasures, those temporary desires of this life, and we work to give up our life and dedicate our life and our daily actions and our words for the sake of our inner divinity.
We lose our life for the sake of God, our inner Spirit. Then we truly find our life, we find our soul, the potentials of reality that we can scarcely imagine in this moment. We begin to see another side of life, another side of ourselves that is much greater and what we currently experience. But if we desire merely to save our life, our property, our bank account, our prestige, our status, our success, then at the end of our life, when death comes, we will lose that and we will lose the opportunity we had to develop our soul as well.
That is why we have to work hard. This brings us back to that quote that I mentioned at the beginning: "Intimate self-realization costs. It has a price, life itself.” We have to work extremely hard on our mind. Each day we have to get better and better. Yes, we start where we are. We start with little actions, little changes, whatever we are capable of today. Then tomorrow we will be capable of a little more, but we have to be truly giving all that we can give in each moment, in each day―those moments when we are awake and catching ourselves, when we are tempted to choose, to not to give into temptation, but instead to pray in our heart: "God, guide me in this moment to do your will, to do the will of the best part of myself, my soul, my Spirit.” That is how we live, that is how we find our life. We give up our life in order to find eternal life, the life of our soul, our self-realization.
The Psychological Work
We see in this image Perseus holding the head of Medusa. Medusa, if you are nor familiar with the myth, was the Gorgon, a mythical beast, and anyone who looked at her and saw her eyes, would turn into stone, would die. They would be immobilized, unable to act ever again. Perseus is the hero who finally conquered Medusa. This is related with the problem we have been talking about, about giving up the ego. How do we overcome our ego? Well, we can use the example of Perseus here. Perseus, in order to kill Medusa, had two tools in particular. He had others, but in particular, there are two tools that he had in the myth.
One was the sword, the sword with which he was able to cut off her head. That sword is related with willpower. The sword is the symbol of our will, divine will, the power of the will of divinity. For if God wills something, it will be done. Nothing can stop our inner divinity. If we incarnate that will, we will be capable of much more than we are capable in our present egotistical form, because of that power of divinity. So, Perseus was demonstrating to us that it takes tremendous willpower, not tremendous desire. Desire is an obstacle we all face. We are replacing that desire with true willpower.
He also had a shield that was very reflective. He was able to use this shield like a mirror to see around the corner, to see Medusa without looking directly into her eyes. And thus, he was able to avoid being killed by her, being turned to stone, and he was able to use her reflection to see what she was, to observe her and to kill her with the sword of his willpower.
So, we know that we need willpower and we also know that we need reflection. That is the self-observation, self-reflection that we do. It is also meditation. We might be angry during the day. In that moment we see something in ourselves coming out. Or we might feel envy, and we feel that envy and we see somebody getting something good without us, and we feel really envious, and we say: "Oh, yeah. I see that. I wish I didn't feel envious, but I do.” So, we go home, and we use that shield, that meditative state, in which we are able to separate from our ego, to separate from ourselves and to reflect on it in a state of peace and serenity. We are able to observe that envy as though it were a separate person, as though its desires were not our desires, but were separate from us. In that state we can learn a lot about it. We can see for what it is. We can separate from it, and we can avoid being killed by it. We can avoid being turned to stone. That is how we can cut off its head with our own willpower.
Perhaps that sounds a little bit too abstract for some of us, but I promise at the end here―we are moving into the last section―I will give a practical example. But I want to wrap up with renunciation, because renunciation is truly the method that we use to die psychologically. Renunciation is truly the way that we kill our ego.
What does it mean to renounce something? It means to give something up. Sometimes this is something precious to us, and when we renounce it and we give it up, it can be painful. But sometimes, if we have meditated on something, like our envy, or our pride, or our lust, or our anger, our greed―we meditated on it and we have seen how ugly it is, how much it really causes us suffering―every time I act on it, it causes me to suffer, and causes others to suffer. Then we go to renounce it on the altar of our inner divinity. We are happy to be rid of it!
That is a state of comprehension, that is when you truly know from your own deep comprehension, from your own meditation, your own direct experience that that action, that that state, that quality of mind and emotion, brings harm, brings pain, brings suffering. And, so, you want to renounce it. You invoke your Divine Mother and you pray to Her to help you to destroy that part of yourself, that ego―to free your soul, your Essence, your consciousness from that egotistical desire, and to destroy the desire and regain that energy, that willpower into your soul.
Renunciation is the first of the Three Principle Paths in Buddhism, as taught by Tsong Khapa, the great Buddhist teacher. So, I am going to read you a little passage from the Three Principle Paths, which is a short scripture that Tsong Khapa wrote.
"Without pure renunciation, there is no way to end
This striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life.
It is because of their hankering life as well that beings
Are fettered, so seek renunciation first." ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
So, what does it mean "the striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life"?
Life has many experiences and many possibilities. We are striving for many pleasant results. None of us wants to experience suffering. None of us wants to experience old age or illness, or death. We want to experience happiness, and pleasure, and joy, and feeling looked up to and respected. We want those pleasant results, and so each day we devote a large portion of our life to pursuing those pleasant results, to pursue more money. Maybe we work at the job that we really do not feel good about. Maybe we do not even like our job, but we work there because we want more money. That is a pleasant result we are seeking, the feeling of security we get from having a lot of money or the feeling pride from having a lot of money. So, we devote how much of our time and our energy and our efforts to pursuing that, to striving for that.
Without renouncing that desire or any number of that desires that we have, there is no way that we can end that striving for pleasant results. As long as we hold on to that desire and we say: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want my Spirit to develop. I want to be self-realized, but also I want to be wealthy and I want to have a yard, and a big house, and a lot of people respecting me, and I want to be famous."
Whatever it is for us, maybe it is not such materialistic things. Maybe there are other desires we have that we want to achieve in our life. As long as we hold on to those, we are killing the potential of our soul, at least to the degree that we are holding on to these desires. That is why he stated: "It is because of their hankering life”―hankering after all the things that we want in life―that beings are fettered, that we are being chained up, that we are bound here. We are not able to achieve our full potential, that we are not able to experience those higher possibilities of the soul and the Spirit, to see the rest of life. It is because of our striving after pleasant results that we are the caterpillar instead of the butterfly.
So, first we must seek renunciation. Without renouncing egotism, as it manifests in in our daily deeds, then we cannot begin on the path. We cannot achieve freedom and liberation from suffering. Tsong Khapa goes on to say:
"Leisure and fortune are hard to find, life is not long;
Think it constantly; stop desire for this life.
Think over and over how deeds and their fruits never fail,
And the cycle’s suffering: stop desire for the future.” ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
So, he is talking exactly about we have been talking about. Death is inevitable, and we need to think about that constantly. In fact, in Buddhism there is a practice of meditating on one's death. Truly sitting and meditating on what it would be like if in this moment your body began to die, life began to fade from your organs, from your body, from your tissues and you began to be able to lose your last breath, and think about, perhaps, your funeral and the grieving relatives and all the things that you would leave behind. You realize that this is inevitable, that this actually will happen―maybe not in a way you have visualized in your meditation, but it will happen. How you are living your life reflects how you hope to feel at that moment of death―or other things before that moment change, because we do not know when it will come.
So, we have to think about how all the things that we invest our time into might be reaping fruit later on that we will only lose, because they are temporary. So that is how deeds and our fruits never fail. It is the teaching of karma. Whatever actions we take today, will have an effect even if we see in this lifetime. If we perform good deeds, we will see the fruits of those deeds someday.
He goes on to say:
“When you have meditated thus and feel not even
A moment’s wish for the good things of cyclic life,
(that is the cycle of Samsara, the cycle of suffering that keeps us bound here in this world)
And when you begin to think both night and day
Of achieving freedom, you have found renunciation.” ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
So, we have to begin where we are at of course. We need to renounce what we can today and those things that we cannot renounce, we just need to observe them and study them more, until we learn about them and understand the true effects of what those are attaining for us.
I had some rare moments when I thought something was bad and then by observing it and meditating for a while, I actually found that it was producing good effects for others and for me, but I have been beating myself up about it, because of some beliefs that I had. At the same time there were things that I believed were good deeds that I was doing to help others and later came to find were not actually the case.
A Practical Example of Renunciation
So, here is where I deliver on my promise of giving you a practical example. Here at our level, how can we experience renunciation? How can we die psychologically? So, several years ago I was practicing self-observation during the day and retrospecting the entire day each night in meditation. I was assigned to a project to work on with two colleagues of mine. It was a group project and I was very excited about the topic that we working on, because it was a project that I actually had much previous experience in. So, I would see, I could feel that excitement in myself and that energy. I wanted to get work on this project. And when I sat down for the first meeting with my two colleagues and we talked about the topic of our project, I discovered that they were not so enthusiastic about it. They wished that they got assigned to different project and they didn't have the experience that I had in it. So, I thought: "Oh, well, if you guys aren't excited about it, I could really take on a lot of the work here. I have a lot of ideas about this. I have got a lot of experience in it. I am really excited about it. So, you can kick back and relax, and do not worry about it too much.” So here in this case I thought I was doing a good thing.
Now, time went on and we continued to have meetings and I felt something was off. I could intuitively feel in those meetings that there was some distance between me and the other two. And there was one meeting that I remember, where we sat together, and I was pitching some ideas to them and they were shooting down my ideas. Then they began to talk about their ideas, and I realized from their discussion that they have been meeting together separately from me and discussing their own ideas. I felt this pain in my heart in that moment and I felt hurt, and I felt that they didn't appreciate me and the good things that I was trying to do. I went home that night and I was meditating on my day and I took some extra time to focus on that experience and to think: "Why was I so hurt in that moment?" And to observe it: "What did I feel? What was the look from their faces? How were they feeling?" Just to replay it as best as I could.
Suddenly I had an experience, where I saw the situation in the other person. I was not trying to do it. It just happened. In a meditative state, I was seeing it as if though from another person's perspective, and I was replaying and seeing all the things that I was saying. And I realized that from the very beginning, I have come into this project, although I thought I was doing something good, there was actually a desire for my own ideas, my own pride in my ideas and my experience, and what I had to contribute and the success I wanted to see for myself in this project. I had not seen that, because of course I was inside of that desire. But when I saw this in meditation from the perspective of third person point of view, I actually saw that I was being quite arrogant and that I wasn't giving them the same appreciation of their ideas, that I have kind of written them off at the beginning, and gone off on what I wanted to do. So, was it any surprise to me that they have felt that they had to meet on their own and come up with their ideas on their own, and push back against me, when I had out of arrogance not even listened or valued their perspectives?
So, I felt very humble when I saw this. Although initially I felt hurt and angry at my two colleagues, after comprehending this in meditation, I actually felt embarrassed. I felt shame for the pride that I had shown and I had just honestly not seen it. But now that I saw it, I knew that I had to renounce it.
It was actually difficult for me despite having seen this and comprehended to a degree in meditation. It was difficult for me, but at the next meeting with them, I started off the meeting by apologizing, by admitting that I felt I hadn't really valued their opinions from the beginning, and that because I was so excited about the project, invested in my own ideas, I hadn't really listened to them enough. I apologized for that and said that I would like to work in a more collaborative fashion from now on. And for the rest of the project, what they will experience will be completely different.
I had to die in my pride. It was painful to renounce my pride. I was embarrassed of how I was, how I have been acting. I was also in those moments, when I had to apologize, still kind of feeling like: "Uh, I should not have to apologize to these people. They still did something wrong too!" So I had to renounce. I had to be humble. I had to give that up and die. I felt pain emotionally as I was dying.
But after I did that act, I reaped the benefits of what it was truly like to collaborate with others, what it was truly to like learn from them and share valuable ideas that I had, and to appreciate them and to see the way then. They came to the way to appreciate me as well. I had no regrets about having renounced my pride. So, as I was fortunate in that situation to see something in myself that I had not seen before, to see my life from the perspective of others―my actions from the perspective of others, and to let my pride in that moment die, to take the action that I felt the guidance of my conscience leading me to take, which was to apologize and to humble myself.
Additionally, I will add that not long after that I was hired for a new job and I went in to that job with a lot more humility. I listened to my colleagues and I valued their ideas and I supported their ideas, and I didn't just go into every meeting boasting about how great my ideas were and trying to get everybody to listen to me about how great I was, because from that experience I had truly learned something that had changed me on a deep enough level, that I would never go back and want to act the way that I had behaved before.
So that is a very practical example. I picked a very little example, but as small as that example is, and as insignificant as may seem, it had effects in my life. There have been bigger effects, bigger examples in my life that are a bit too personal to share, but each of us in our own way (whether big or small) can be analyzing our life like this, can be praying to our divinity to overcome our defects and sometimes, to lay the desire that we cling so tightly to on the altar of divinity, and to sacrifice that for our inner Spirit, can be painful. But the gifts are bestowed upon us―the potentials, the capabilities, the wisdom, the virtue, and the love that is bestowed upon us in degrees as a result of that action, are much much more valuable than anything we have lost in the process of sacrificing and renouncing.
So, I conclude the lecture with one more quote, which I feel truly summarizes everything that we have talked about today in a very practical way. This quote comes from Dion Fortune:
“The personality and the things of the senses have to be sacrificed in order that the Higher Self may manifest; there can be no dispute on this point. All the Initiates have declared it to be so." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
She is talking about all the great spiritual teachers, the initiates, have taught―that when you sacrifice the things of our physical senses, our personality, our egotism, in order that our higher self, our Spirit, our highest potential, can manifest.
She goes on to state:
“We are inclined to think that, having sacrificed the personality, we shall be bereft of all things. This is because the mind of the West still clings to its habit of believing that the death of the body ends existence. So we believe sub-consciously that the death of personality ends enjoyment of the fullness of life." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
Here she is talking about how whether or not believe that there is life after death, we actually live as though we feel that survival in this world is all there is. Our actions demonstrate where faith truly lies.
We might state that: "Oh, yeah, it is good to be generous and to donate money,” but at the same time, another part of us truly takes actions to gather more money, because our faith is in the security of the world, the security of money, the security of material possession and status as well. So we believe that the death of our personality would end our enjoyment of the fullness of life, but we do not realize that our ego actually restricts our experience of the rest of existence―all of those states of consciousness that are beyond our current state of consciousness. As long as we remain trapped in ego, trapped in that cocoon, we will never achieve those higher states, the greater potentials that we are capable of. We never will become a butterfly, who can fly into the realms of the heavens and truly meet divinity face to face.
And finally, she concludes:
"We forget that the merchant who sold all he had was able to purchase the Great Pearl. True, he had realized all his assets, but they were re-invested in something of far greater value. The Gospel story implies that he bore off the Pearl in triumph. So it is with us if we make the sacrifice of the things of the senses that permits of the incarnation of the Higher Self in the physical body." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
So we sacrifice the things of this lifetime that we want and we desire egotistically "Just for me, just because I want it,” in order for our divinity to manifest in our physical body and to perform good deeds and great teachings for the benefit of humanity. Just in case you are not familiar with the parable of the Great Pearl that she references here, it is in the Gospel of Mathew that Jesus taught:
“Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, who when he found one of great value, went away and sold everything he had, and bought it." ―Matthew 13:45-46
The Pearl of great value that Jesus is referring to here is our soul, is our spiritual life. It is of such great value that it is worth selling everything that we own. And that is why Dion Fortune mentions that "the merchant bore off the Pearl in triumph.” He did not sit around crying about all the things that he had to give up and renounce for the spiritual work. He went off so happy, because he truly knew and experienced the benefits for spiritual life, for his soul, the benefits that we was able to perform good works for others, for those he cared about, for the world, which is experiencing so much suffering.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.
So welcome everybody to our introductory course on the studies of spirituality within all traditions.
In this type of study we emphasize that the human being, as he or she is now, has the potential to become something more, something greater, and profound. Contrary to conventional belief, that the human being as we are now is the epitome or the peak of potential, we state that this is a false assumption.
Every tradition in the world has taught or been delivered by all the messengers of divinity, no matter what the tradition. We study in this school all of the teachings of these different faiths, primarily because we want to look at the heart, the essence of spirituality, because it is universal. It is one intelligence; one type of understanding that expresses in accordance with the needs, the language, the culture, the qualities of the students, the time and place in which those teachings were given.
But if you really look at the heart of what yoga teaches, Buddhism teaches, Judeo-Christianity or whatever faith, we find that at the heart, there is a science by which one can achieve what people call religion. The word religion in Latin means “reunion,” religare. In the East, it is yoga, from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” And all these traditions have taught that the human being is a seed, has potential to become something truly divine and magnanimous, beautiful.
Different religions called this seed consciousness. The Buddhists call it Buddhadhatu, the seed of a Buddha, an awakened one, a master.
The Christians and Muslims and Jews have called it soul, and there are many names for that quality of being in those faiths. In this study, we call it the Essence. It is the pure potential to reflect divinity, and this is something that we can experience for ourselves when we know the science of meditation and when we practice it.
We can develop that potential in ourselves and have the experience of what different traditions have called divinity. That knowledge amongst the Greeks was called gnosis, but not intellectual knowledge. A lot of people in the West, especially in academies, like to think that gnosis was isolated to the first Christians, but that experiential wisdom of knowing divinity has nothing to do with theory, with believing, with a concept. It is what we know by experiencing the awakening of our Essence.
They are very vivid experiences which have been allegorized in all the scriptures. You have Moses on Mount Sinai, you have Krishna, like in this image, manifesting all of his qualities to the meditator, known as Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. You have many faiths, many stories. The Greek mysteries, the Buddhist teachings, they are all symbols of internal truths. It is not literally that Moses went on a physical mountain and saw God, that it was a physical experience. It is a spiritual and psychological experience, something we witness in meditation, inside.
We can verify these things for ourselves through experimentation, through practice and therefore we don't need to believe in anything, to follow an institution, a religion, a dogma, a belief system. We like to be very practical in this type of studies.
But of course, it is a very difficult thing to do. It is not easy to experience divinity, to conquer in ourselves the causes of suffering, to understand that which in our own life really conditions and makes us suffer, because there is a reason why we may not know God now or divinity or Brahma, Christ amongst the original Christians, which is not a person. It is a type of consciousness that is universal, which different traditions call by different names and have been symbolized by all the beautiful paintings of any tradition.
These are not literal people. These are qualities of being, and in this image we see the Lord Krishna who is the Hindu Christ, that divine consciousness that is not personal to just one individual, but is universal to all beings. We see that he is a child seated with one hand facing up, the other down, and he is surrounded by millions of figures. This is a beautiful painting about the experience of the meditator Arjuna who asked Krishna, “I want to see You in Your true form. Show me in my consciousness, in my meditations, what You are.” And then Krishna, or divinity, manifested in a form of images―not physical images, but images we can see in meditation or in dreams.
This is very beautiful experience that was depicted in this scripture. And you see that all these multitudes of figures represent all the universal qualities of divinity, which are inside: compassion, divine love, selflessness, patience, compassion. But to really develop these qualities in us is not easy. If it were easy, then all of humanity will be a very different state of being. This planet would be a very different place.
So this indicates to us that these qualities are not developed in a permanent sense, are not realized in our own daily life, and so in these studies we like to be very practical. We like to analyze certain methods of meditation that teach us how to have that experience, and how to develop and maintain that state. I am sure any one of us who studies any type of meditation or is attracted to religion or any type of faith, they really deep down want to have that experience. They want to escape suffering.
This difficult path of meditation has been discussed in all religions. It is not easy to confront in oneself negative states like anger, resentment, pride, fear, laziness, lust, desire. All traditions teach that it is these negative qualities of mind that trap us. They enclose our potential in a static state. It is not active because in us, that potential is not active or developed. It has to be freed. It has to be worked upon very intentionally.
So in the beginning some people practice meditation and they may have an experience seemingly by accident, but the reality is that there are certain causes and conditions that brought about that state. One may not be aware of how and why. Some people call this spiritual awakening, insight. It happens. But if we want to be permanently established in that state, it is important to put forth the causes and the conditions that produce that reality in a permanent way.
So this is called self-realization amongst the Hindus, the realization of our true identity, which is divine. It is the awakening of consciousness. But of course, developing that is challenging, primarily because of the difficulty of our own conditions of mind, which is why in the Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 7, verse 3 state:
"Among thousands of men (or women, practitioners) one perchance strives for perfection (to realize that perfect divinity inside. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, "Be perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.") Even among those successful strivers (those who are really working to experience that truth) only one perchance knows me in essence."
So again, these are levels of consciousness. I believe even the 14th Dalai Lama stated that consciousness has the potential to expand to an infinite degree―so other levels of knowledge, levels of understanding.
This tradition or this statement has been paralleled in the Christian Gospel by Jesus, who was an incarnation of Christ. He manifested that divinity in himself, and with his life was allegorizing certain steps and stages about the spiritual path.
He also said, "Enter by the narrow gate." Enter into the meditative path that awakens your full potential, your seed, your Essence of soul. "For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it by are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to spiritual life, and those who find it are few." ―Matthew 7:13
Think of an analogy of a tree. A pine tree has thousands and thousands of seeds. How many of them actually become a full tree when they land on the Earth? You may have a handful, or one or two. A few. So spiritual development is no different than nature. Things happen progressively in steps, when the causes and conditions are ripe. In order for a seed to develop into a pine tree, it needs water. It needs appropriate soil. It needs sunlight. It needs the conditions that give birth to that full development of a tree.
But of course, many seeds are lost, and this is the sad reality. Our true potential is not a guarantee, that it will develop into something fully perfect and divine.
And this is very evident by the state of humanity today. We can look at the news and simply see the state of crisis in which people are afflicted: wars, violence, acts of destruction, which are truly horrendous. It is evident by the state of our culture and this planet that people are not developing the seed of their spirituality. It is a difficult fact to realize. It is very unpleasant. If that seed were fully manifested and developed, there would be no wars, because divinity is compassion. It is love. So it's evident that this seed of humanity is not generating into a tree. It is degenerating. It is not being developed. And so any person who looks at the news and feels that horror of what this planet is in, evidently feels inspired to want to know the reason why, and as well to escape that type of destruction, which is very prevalent.
And so how do we develop that seed? There are beautiful stories and many scriptures that can teach us about that development. The Bible is one of them, which is a very misunderstood text, read very literally, dogmatically. People don't understand that scriptures like the Bible are telling parables through stories. They represent principles and truths which are psychological, spiritual. We have a very famous statement in the Book of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 31 to 32 about the development of that perfect seed, how the seed of the human being can become a god, an angel, a buddha, a deva, a jinn―whatever name we want to give to that fully self-realized and perfected individual.
“Another parable put he forth unto them saying, the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge and the branches thereof." ―Matthew 13:31-32
Individuals like Jesus or Krishna, Moses, were once like us, a seed. But because of certain discipline of mind and training, they became the individuals that we emulate, in which millions of people follow, who are inspired. We like to think in this culture or even for thousands of years that those were just exceptional people. It had nothing to do with people like us, that somehow they receive the grace of God and were able to have those experiences, which is true to a degree. But the reality is that they worked to become them.
They were once like us, people afflicted by fear and distress and anxiety and suffering. But because of their tremendous compassion and their work ethic, they were able to become enlightened beings. And like a tree, they can house through their teachings and their instructions, all of the birds of heaven, all the saints, all the students of meditation who really want to become like that.
You have many myths and stories throughout the world that teach and allegorize, whether in art or religious scriptures, stories that all teach the same thing: that we are a seed. We could become like divinity into a fully developed Christmas tree. If you are familiar with the Christmas tradition or the Christian tradition, people like to decorate a pine tree with many stars and globes and luminous objects and a star the very top. It s a very ancient symbol of this concept. The soul became a fully developed master of meditation and has lights illuminating that tree. It is a symbol of what we can become, as performed on the Nativity of Christ, the birth of Jesus, who symbolizes the birth of divinity in our hearts through practice and specific methods.
There is a very ancient teaching in the Aztec and Mayan religions that also point towards this concept. Samael Aun Weor who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition of which we study, wrote in a book called The Great Rebellion:
“One codex of Anahuac states that, ‘The Gods created humans of wood, and after having created them, fused them with divinity.’ But later adds, ‘Not all humans achieve integration with divinity.’” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So what does it mean that the gods made people made of wood? A very interesting concept which anthropologists like to laugh at and read literally, thinking these are very superficial people or ignorant people who believe that, literally, people were made of wood by the gods.
Unfortunately, that materialistic view point misses the point. There is something symbolic here.
Even in art, amongst the Greco-Roman tradition, Renaissance art, European art, they reflected these concepts in their images. But people who are very materialistic like the thing that God is a person, physical. They don't understand that it is a representation of something spiritual and conscious, psychological. This is the creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel: a beautiful symbol of the development of or creation of the soul.
Some of you may be familiar with a story called Pinocchio, which also hides this truth. It was written by Carlo Collodi, who was an Italian author, and wrote about the story of a wooden boy that wanted to become a human being. It is a symbol. His writing was intentionally veiled in the form of a children's tale so as to avoid persecution. He was writing for a very select group of people who are studying this type of knowledge that was at the time forbidden to unveil or convey, primarily because people would not understand it and would create problems, because this type of thinking goes against the grain of institutionalized dogma. We can only think of the inquisition as an example.
So “Pinocchio, Pinoccoli or Pinocchio is the Tuscan Florentine word for pine nut or pine seed.” It is a symbol of us. We are a seed in a potential state that may want or feel inspired to become a fully developed human being, a person of flesh and bone, a fully developed being, a spiritually enlightened one.
The Three Esoteric Sciences
There is a lot of teachings in that story which are very beautiful and profound, symbolic. And if we read it from the knowledge of three types of science, we can gain a lot of understanding.
Those three sciences are known in different cultures and traditions, which we study in synthesis here. The word esoteric means “secret, hidden,” that which has not been taught publicly. These esoteric sciences, while some aspects of these traditions have been conveyed to the public, they were never fully explained until very recently, through the effort of many authors throughout different traditions, such as the Western Esoteric Tradition: the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy of Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner's writings, from Anthroposophy, and many other teachings.
We study these three sciences called Kabbalah, alchemy and psychology, in order to develop our full potential. Kabbalah, alchemy, in the Book of Genesis, in the Old Testament, are called the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. These are symbols, practical methods and ways of study that can awaken the seed and develop it. These are not literal trees in the Middle East, that people think a single man and a single woman existed in a garden in Mesopotamia many millennia ago. That is a very literal teaching or interpretation.
What people don't recognize is that these sciences permeate all of the language of the Bible, but because people have not been instructed about the symbolic nature of those types of teachings, they of course read it like a newspaper. They don't really see the real value and depth of that instruction.
קַבָּלָה Kabbalah is the Tree of Life. These Hebrew letters read from right to left. The word קבל kabel in Hebrew means “to receive.” You may have heard many Jews study Kabbalah in this time. Real Kabbalah, in its spiritual sense, is knowledge that we receive from divinity, from direct experience. We can study Kabbalah intellectually and read books, but it doesn't equate with the actual personal verification of meditation for ourselves.
Kabbalah is a beautiful teaching that is symbolic and helps us understand all the parables and stories of the Bible, because the Hebrew letters themselves represent numbers, which are spiritual. They represent things, qualities of consciousness, and these letters also represent qualities of soul, which we study very didactically in our courses of Kabbalah, which we have on our website chicagognosis.org, or you can study also on gnosticteachings.org.
We also have the science of alchemy, or the Arabic الكيمياء: Allah-Khemia. The word Al or El in Hebrew is God. Khemia is a Greek term meaning chemistry: to fuse or cast a metal. Many people have heard of alchemy as being a medieval superstition of people literally trying to transform lead into gold, out of greed, and there are people who were like that, who misinterpreted this tradition to think that they could actually accomplish this feat. But the real depth and knowledge, the spiritual symbol of alchemy, is transforming the lead of the personality, our own negative states of mind into the gold of the Spirit. It is also the work with energy, working with all the energies we have in our body, in our heart, in our mind, so that we can fuse like a metal with divinity.
And then lastly we have psychology. This is the Greek (ψυχολογία psychologia) read from left to right. Psychology in these times is divorced from spirituality. People think psychology is simply the study of the mind, the brain. If you look at the original etymology, psychology is actually something very dynamic.
It comes from psyche, logos. Psyche is soul. It is consciousness. It is the essence of a person. It is not just the intellect, because truly in our depth, we are more than just a mind. We have a heart. We have a body. The consciousness is not just thinking. It is the ability to perceive, even beyond thought. So psyche and logos or logos, in its original term, means “word.” You may be familiar with the Book of John: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Greek word is logos. “In the beginning was the Logos, the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.” These are symbols or qualities of being.
So what is genuine psychology and it's real root? It is how the soul, psyche, through meditation, unites with logos. Very simple. It also has to do with studying the obstacles in our own mind that create conflict for us.
We develop the seed of our potential through these sciences, and we will explain about these three in synthesis today.
The Sexual Seed: The Synthesis of Spiritual Creation
So the word seed has a very interesting connotation. A seed is the sexual synthesis of any being, whether from plants, from animals, from human beings. That seed of a person, of a soul, can be developed, very intentionally, when we learn how to work with all the energies that we carry within―not just our heart or mind, but even our creative potential.
That seed, which is sexual, our creative sexual potential, can give birth to a human being. We know this. The seed of a man and a seed of woman can unite to create a child, but people do not know that that very same seed, that energy or power that can create a human being, can create the soul, can fully empower it, because it is the power of life.
It is the most powerful creative power a human being possesses. It is how all societies are run. People are born through the seed. They have life. And just as physically we can have life with this body, the generation of our physical temple, we can also learn to transform the sexual seed through specific practices, transform that seed into energy, because creative sexuality is a tremendous power and a powerful responsibility. It is a tremendous responsibility to give birth to a child. It is very serious. But even more so, to give birth to a child within us, our full spiritual development, is even a greater responsibility. It has more power.
We can do that by learning to work with our energies. Some people may be familiar with Buddhism, of tantra, spiritual union, sexual union of husband and wife, working to connect from a state of purity of mind in order to transform everything that they have into developing their spirituality. This is why all traditions and all religions have really fought and explain that marital union, the love between husband and wife―not in a legal sense or in terms of paperwork, but from a conscious standpoint―has tremendous power, tremendous responsibility. The Bible relates some of these teachings in a very symbolic way, which people have interpreted, again, literally, but we'll explain some of the alchemical significance of these lines.
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made..." ―Galatians 3:16
If you are familiar with the Old Testament, Abraham is one of the patriarchs of Judaism, the founding fathers. His people, the Jews, were promised by divinity that they would receive help. This is the fundamental, literal meaning. But if you look at this in a symbolic way, there is something more interesting.
"He saith not, And to seeds, as of many." ― Galatians 3:16
Meaning: individual people, because every person is a seed. When they are child, they grow and become a human being.
"But as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." ―Galatians 3:16
So what is that seed that is mentioned in the Book of Galatians? We could look at this image of a elderly man with a sun emanating from his genitalia, a book in his hand, a staff of power in his left. This is from the medieval tradition of alchemy. So many alchemists, who knew the science of uniting with divinity, taught their truths through art. They didn't explain this explicitly, because they would face many problems and persecutions, many scandals.
So they taught through art, and this is a very beautiful image representing an elderly man who is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the figure Jehovah amongst the Jews. He holds a book in his hand, referring to study, the need to study oneself, one's life. He also has a staff in his hand, representing a weapon, a type of will that is needed in order to achieve genuine religion. We have a sun emanating from his sexual organs because, just as the ancient people knew that the sun gives life to all things, they made the connection and knew that our own sexual seed is the power of generation.
The sun generates all life in every level. We could not exist on this planet without light, and so the ancients knew that this seed is a type of solar force. It is a solar energy. It is a power that can give life. And even Plato and many Greek masters knew that the ultimate divinity is the sun, the Platonic Logos. Or like Jesus, and the great paintings has a halo of light around his head, because he has used his own seed to transform that, and to develop the light of the saints. He is a Christmas tree with light, with spirituality.
There is a statement by Samael Aun Weor in the book The Great Rebellion. He states that:
“The Sun has deposited the seeds within the sexual glands of the intellectual animal in order to germinate a Human Being.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Some people get offended when they hear this term. But if you look at the story of Pinocchio, he was a wooden boy. He wanted to become a real, fully developed human being made into the image of divinity. And what is an animal? It comes from the Latin anima; to animate, to have life. If we look at humanity, we find that all the violence and wars and bloodshed and poverty and affliction is not the result of our own humanity, but that which is animal in us: anger, violence, prostitution, hatred, lust, envy. These are qualities that are animalistic, instinctive, and we all possess those elements.
But unfortunately, it is a very difficult thing to see how our own states of mind are the cause of our suffering. These are animal qualities. And because we have the intellect, we can rationalize. We are anima, souls, with intellect. But an intellectual animal is any one of us who has the seed and who can develop into a perfectly enlightened being, like in this image.
And what is a real human being? You can look at the Sanskrit: hum-man. Hum means “spirit.” Man or manas means “mind.” It is a mind that is united with hum, the spirit. And what is that Spirit? Like in the previous image, we saw Jehovah pointing his finger towards Adam, creating the soul, a symbol of creating the perfect being, not a literal history. That represents how the spiritual force of divinity is fully perfected in manifested in us. That is a real human being, hum-man, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna. They fully manifested all the qualities of the Spirit in a perfect way. That is a real human being.
But when we are criticized and we respond with anger and say very negative things, it indicates to us that we have much from the animal kingdom inside. Science and popular culture likes to defend that which is animal. You see it in our television, in our movies, in our cinemas, in our sports, in our fighting for power, in our politics, in our religions. These are animal qualities: competition, fighting, debating, arguing, inflicting harm.
But a human being is beyond that. Has transformed the seed into something perfected and we can do that by working with our energies through the science of alchemy.
“Obviously, such seeds can develop or be ultimately lost.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Going back to the quote of Jesus and the Book of Matthew or the gospel of Krishna.
“If we want those seeds to develop, it is essential to cooperate with the efforts that the Sun is making in order to create Humans.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
We have other images in this graphic, a lion beneath the genitalia of this elderly figure. You may be familiar with the Christian tradition of the Lion of Judah. It is a symbol of the strength and power divinity. You have also figures below who are fighting, grappling each other with swords and weapons, doing acrobatic acts, playing games. That represents all of humanity, people who don't really take spirituality seriously, their conscious life seriously, because they choose to engage in frivolities and wars.
So what is the way to escape the circus of humanity, the chaos? It is by studying ourselves like in this open book, and using our staff, which is a symbol of willpower, of daily effort.
The Seed of the Second Birth
Since we are explaining about the seed of generation, we find a very beautiful teaching in the story of Jesus talking to Nicodemus. It is very common knowledge amongst Christians, or the belief that one is born again through belief. This is from the old scriptures of the Gospels, a very famous teaching that is not very well understood.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
People commonly interpret this as baptism, a ceremony or ritual in the church that one has received the water of spirituality and is blessed and then is saved.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not really address the practical problems of our sufferings. We may believe in divinity, in an institution or a church. We may be inspired by our groups. This is all necessary and beautiful, but belief does not change suffering. We continue to suffer whether we think something is true or not. The way that one overcomes suffering is through action, through work. But in a more deeper level, this scripture hides something very interesting that relates to alchemy, spiritual birth, the birth of the soul.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh. Obviously people do not need to be taught how to generate a physical child. But that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Through the matrimony or union of man and woman, one can give birth to a physical child, but that which is born of the Spirit through the same union, can give birth to the Spirit.
But of course, there are very specific procedures involved. When the couple works in their marriage or their union―and when I mean marriage, I don't mean papers, but a real marital union is the union of two souls that love one another perfectly, that are selfless and working on themselves, fully investing all their energy and love and potential, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others. So that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
Birth is a sexual problem. In order to give birth physically we need male-female. But Jesus was indicating symbolically how through the same connection, but done with purity and with specific methods, one can give birth to the soul, the Spirit. And this is symbolized in some of the Kabbalistic meaning, the language of this scripture, which if you see these letters:
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born (ה) of water (מ) and of the Spirit (ש), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
This is Hebrew. We can look at the meaning of these individual letters, transpose over certain aspects of his explanation. This letter is called ה Hei. It is related to birth. It is even shaped like a womb. The letter ה Hei refers to birth, genesis, the divine feminine. The next letter is water relating to מ Mem, and מ Mem has two forms. There is an open Mem (מ) and there is a closed Mem (ם). Sometimes in Hebrew, when a letter is at the end of a word or name, it takes on a different configuration, but it is the same letter, the same meaning. Now water is מ Mem. You have very famous references in the Bible to water: the water of life, the fountain of youth, the waters of Genesis, how the world was made and life came from the waters.
Again, the book of Genesis is not literal, a literal history, but refers to the birth of the soul. Those waters are our own sexual fluids, the creative waters of life, which, when they are conserved and transformed, can generate a lot of power, to give strength to our spirituality and make us truly warriors, those who really work out of compassion for others and generate all the beautiful qualities of the soul.
So “except a man” or person “be born of water and Spirit,” and the word Spirit relates to this letter called ש Shin. ש Shin has three prongs and refers to fire, but not a literal fire. It's a spiritual force, a power. Remember that Moses saw the burning bush, that Tree of Life, the Being, the divine, our true nature, inflamed with fire and light. Or Krishna with all those figures and light emanating from him. It's fire. It is a type of energy. It is not a literal fire in the kitchen. It is a fire that gives birth and light and understanding to our life.
That fire is contained within our own waters, because obviously, when a couple engages sexually, they are inflamed. The organs are inflamed. There is energy circulating, and the Buddhists call this tantra. Tantra is Sanskrit for circuitry. This is the circuitry of God. That fire can be conserved and circulated throughout the body and the mind to give youth. That energy which can create a child can rejuvenate the body and the soul, create harmony in every level. So if one is not born of water and the Spirit, one cannot enter the kingdom of God. This is the meaning of “to be born again.” It is a pure marriage or union. And again, marriage has nothing to do with paperwork. It has to do with love.
So you look at these Hebrew letters and the science of Kabbalah teaches this very beautifully. These letters can be reorganized in different ways in order to spell different meanings. You use these three letters to spell השם Hashem, which in Judaism they say ברוך השם אדוני Baruch Hashem Adonai meaning: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” השם Hashem is a reference to the highest identity amongst the Kabbalists. You also take those letters and switch them around you spell משה Moshe, Moses.
Moses is a figure in the Bible or was a real person, but can represent something psychological, spiritual. He frees the Jews from this bondage in Egypt, which are psychological parables that teach about freeing the soul from the bondage of suffering and returning all of the parts of our soul to the Promised Land.
So all this is very interconnected and very interesting, and there are many connections we can draw between this tradition and many others. I am just providing a very general example that highlights that this is a very intricate and beautiful teaching. Very dynamic, but very simple in synthesis.
Spiritual Birth is Not a Theory or Belief
And as I stated, birth is a sexual problem. It is born from the Genesis of two human beings, male-female. And Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
“A seed never germinates because of what a person believes or stops believing. An insect is never born because of what a human being thinks or stops thinking. A man is never born from the parchment of theory. This subject matter is sexual and in this, the angel is no exception.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
“Unless be you be born again of water and Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God."
So this is the highest level teaching given in Buddhism, in Christianity, in Sufism. The mystics of Islam talk a lot about the love of the soul with divinity, but unfortunately people like to extrapolate, and they don't see the connection that we show the highest love of divinity in one's relationship, which is sexual. We show our love not only just with words, but with connection, because that is how the circuitry of God exists, how the energy flow between male-female.
Liberation within Sex
So this is an image of Padmasambhava from the Buddhist tradition, who is showing the highest teachings of yoga tantra, where literally yoga is “union, reunion.” There is no greater power or reunion with divinity than in the sexual act, because men and women can create a child. They can create life.
This is Padmasambhava with his consort, his wife, and he explained that in order to enter the highest teaching, individuals must be prepared through a lot of work in meditation on themselves, because the obvious difficulty of sexual connection is having that energy buildup and losing it. So the foundation of all traditions of meditation always taught chastity. Of course, this is a very misunderstood science today. People think of chastity simply meaning abstention from sex. But chastity has to do with purity. It means immaculate purity. So by conserving that power, one can transform it, raise it through the body, the different centers of energy in ourselves, in our mind, our psyche. And this is how spiritual birth occurs, by working with that energy.
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ―1 John 3:9
So the essential component is that the seed remains inside. That energy is never let out, whether it is to procreate a child or for simple animal pleasure. So it is a very specific procedure. That seed is never lost. Instead, it is transformed into energy through certain exercises and prayers. It is done with a tremendous sense of respect and love and purity and honor.
Mind and Perception
Lastly we will talk a little bit about psychology. So we mentioned a little bit about Kabbalah, the Hebrew letters. We also talked about the science of alchemy: fusing oneself with divinity, working with our most vital principles.
In these times, there is a predisposition to believe that we are the intellect. We are the mind. Because we think, we rationalize, we conceptualize. But we emphasized that the mind is not our genuine identity. It is not really the full essence of what we are, because we have perception even before thought. But in these times, people tend to identify very much with intellect, with thinking, with concepts and rationalization, because in the West, especially, that is the foundation of our culture. We are very intellectual people.
We do use the intellect for our spiritual studies and we need it. We need it to exist in this society, but it is not the sum total of what an individual is. Consciousness is very different from mind. Consciousness is the ability to perceive, to know, to understand. And we can understand things without having to think.
This is very evident by certain experiences of businessmen who go to meetings, as an example, and they think and they think, they think, trying to argue out a problem, to solve a solution. But many of them become tired and they can't figure out what they need to do for a certain proposal. They take a break for five minutes and don't think of anything, and suddenly, they may get an understanding. People come back to the meeting rejuvenated, energized. This is a concrete example that can reflect something in our spiritual life.
Understanding doesn't have to be intellectual, a concept, a way of thinking. The mind is not the sum total of what we are. If we put our hand on a hot stove, we burn our hand. We retract in pain, and only later do we have the thought, “That really hurt!” Instead, we had consciousness of the experience and we reacted. We understood the problem where we got injured. And then we thought later about, “Well, I shouldn't do that again.” This actually shows us that the intellect is the slowest aspect of a person. It's not the quickest. It is actually not the most divine either. It is actually not divine at all. It is just a machine. An intellect can have understanding of concepts. It stores information and then it gives back. We can learn to use the mind in a spiritual way, in a conscious way, in an intuitive way. But the intellect has also been used to feed qualities like anger and resentment. Anger has its own logic fear, its own logic, ways of thinking.
And so these qualities of mind, again, are animalistic, which is allegorized in the story of Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He is representing, or what it is representing in that act, how our own inner divinity must conquer the mind and this is what we attempt and practice in our meditations. Don't think so much. Don't worry so much. Don't daydream. Don't fantasize, but just simply be aware and attentive.
As we begin our practices of meditation today, we were just doing relaxation: a very basic practice in which we just become aware of our body, because most times we go through our day unaware of even our breathing, or circulation. You may have found that when you are starting to concentrate on certain parts of the body, you may start to daydream or think about other things. It means that the mind is not in control, that the mind is riding us instead of we, ourselves, riding the donkey, because the mind is like a donkey. It is an animal. It can be tamed or it can be wild.
Anyone who begins to practice meditation realizes that the mind is very chaotic. It could be a very disconcerting realization to make, but it is not a means or a reason to stop practicing. It is just that we are learning about what our state of mind is. We are just not cognizant of that fact on a daily basis because we tend to be very unconscious, in a spiritual sense. We don't really are aware of the full totality of our life.
So there is a concept of, “I think therefore I am.” This is from the famous French philosopher Descartes. So anyone of us who study philosophy at universities really takes a lot of time to emphasize that “I think therefore I am,” that the intellect is somehow our true identity. But according to Samael Aun Weor in his book Igneous Rose, he mentions that:
“The concept of Descartes,“I think, therefore I am,” is completely false, because the true Man is the Innermost, and the Innermost does not think, because He knows.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Our divinity sees and observes and understands all things. It is a state of consciousness.
“The mind thinks, not the Innermost (our innermost true self).
“In its current state of evolution, the human mind is the animal that we carry within.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
So we can look at our own lives to see examples of this where the mind is animalistic. We can even look on the news. Again, people committing acts of violence which are really cruel, inhumane, we say, demonic.
“The Innermost does not need to think because He is omniscient.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
He sees and understands all things.
We also have a quote from the Book of John:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ―John 14:6
Of course, people think that one has to believe in Jesus and that one is saved, because he is the way, the truth, and the life, but symbolically, Christ, divinity, was speaking through him, saying that only through your own inner divinity can you reach your inner true development, your potential. “No man cometh unto the Father,” which is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the Innermost, we can say, “but by me.”
Christ is an energy. Christ is the seed, a force, which can birth to our soul. So as we are talking about alchemy, we give birth to the soul through that energy when we learn to work with it.
The Story of Pinocchio
And lastly will conclude with a teaching from the story of Pinocchio, to kind of circle back. There is a very famous part of the story in which Pinocchio is going to school and the Blue Fairy, a symbol of the divine feminine, is teaching him, telling him go to school and learn. It is a symbol of how we go to a certain school or group or meditative school and learn this type of knowledge: how to transform ourselves.
That Blue Fairy, the divine feminine, has been called many names in different traditions, symbolized by Mother Mary, Athena amongst the Greeks, Kali, Durga amongst the Hindus, a symbol of our own creative forces that is feminine, inside, and which can help any meditator achieve genuine religion.
Pinocchio is going to school, and then he is confronted by a friend who says “Why go to school? Join me come to the Land of Play where we can play all day and never work.” And Pinocchio is tempted. He goes and eventually goes to this place, where eventually he is transformed into a donkey.
Of course, later, I believe, even in the film by Disney, which does a very good job of depicting this, in the book he gets out of that state eventually. He has to do a lot of work to reverse that, but it is a symbol of how in life, we come to any kind of school of meditation that teaches us how to change, and yet we then get distracted. Our friends say, “Come out to the bar and drink with me!” or “Come see this movie!” or “Let's go to the Land of Play” in a figurative sense: television or whatever distracts us from attempting the practice of meditation, so that we can be more introspective and spiritual, profound.
This is a type of work, because there are a lot of temptations in this society. Our Western society is a land of distraction: sports, media, television, news. We tend to saturate our whole life with all these things, which pull our attention away and makes us very distracted. And so he becomes a donkey, but eventually he gets out with the help of the blue fairy, his Divine Mother we can say. The Divine Mother in Hinduism is a symbol of our own Being, an aspect of our divinity.
Divinity is not just male. It is represented as a masculine projective force, but also is receptive and feminine. There is that duality there and we will talk more about that in our studies of Kabbalah (See The Divine Mother from Beginning Self-Transformation).
And so we have a teaching from the book Igneous Rose:
“The Innermost must flagellate the mind with the terrific whip of willpower.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Flagellation, again, is not literal here, but it is a recrimination. Meaning, we start to act in a mental state of anger in a certain situation or crisis, we want to react in a certain way. But in that moment, we use our will and our awareness, our attention, not to act on that type of behavior, so that we don't cause harm for ourselves or for others. It is a type of willpower. Again, if you look back at the image of the old man with a book in his hand and a staff, he has a staff in his hand and the sun in his genitalia. That staff is a symbol of will, which is why all the shepherds in the Bible had staffs, a symbol of willpower, spiritual willpower.
“The one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
One who enters into greater states of suffering, not only just in some dystopian reality or hell realm, according to religion, official religion, but in our own existence. So there are different levels here. We can find that if we act on negative states of mind, we suffer. As the Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
“Mind proceeds phenomena. We become what we think.” ―Buddha, Dhammapada
If we think wrong and harm and evil, then the result will be harm for ourselves and others. But if we enact the virtuous qualities of mind, positive qualities of mind, we reap the benefits, and other people obviously benefit too.
“The mind is a donkey upon which we must ride in order to enter into the heavenly Jerusalem.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And the quote from Carlos Collodi from the book Pinocchio:
“Boys who do nothing but play end up turning into donkeys.” ―Carlos Collodi, Pinocchio
So what is a donkey? It is a stubborn animal. And you may find that in meditation that the body is stubborn. The mind is stubborn. We sit to adopt a posture or an asana and to relax, and yet we start thinking of other things. We start day dreaming of other things. The body wants to shift and move. We want to adjust ourselves. We feel tension or pain, but if we are always moving in our posture, we are not actually meditating. This is why a great Swami from the Hindu tradition of yoga, Swami Sivananda said, “Your asana, your posture, should be like a mountain, firm,” but relaxed. We don't move. And if you resolve in yourself in the beginning: “Don't move,” you'll find that your mind starts thinking over things or your body wants to move. You have an itch. You have a pain in your neck. You want to adjust yourself. That shows us that the body is like a donkey. It is an animal. You have to train it. The mind likewise. And sometimes even our emotions too. Negativity is animalistic.
So we hope to conclude with the fact that the soul can develop through these three sciences: alchemy, Kabbalah, and psychology, because that seed can become a tree of life when it is intentionally nourished and developed.
Do you have any questions?
Questions and Answers
Question: Where would you put astrology in all this?
Instructor: Sure. For those who are not familiar with astrology, it is the ancient science of the stars: astros-logos: astros, meaning heavens or stars, Logos meaning divinity. We can say that astrology permeates all three sciences―in the original sense or in the interpretations of astrology that there are 12 zodiacal signs that one is born in. According to Hindu tradition, one is born in a different zodiacal sign in each life, if you studied reincarnation and what those concepts entail.
But the zodiac has to do with certain influences in the mind, the heart, the personality, our spirituality too. There are different levels of influences from nature and the cosmos that influence a person. Of course, astrology today is a caricature. It is very divorced from a lot of the ancient roots and sciences that these astrologers actually knew. Astrology in its real sense is astros-logos: how the soul unites with the divinity of the stars. Every star and every planet has its own intelligence, its own divinities. Real astrology is when, in a state of meditation, we can let the body go to sleep, and the consciousness can awaken in what is called the internal dimensions. Some people call it dreams, astral projection, dream yoga, out-of-body experiences. This is something that you can experience for yourself and provoke at will if you seriously practice this.
In that way, in those dimensions known as the Tree of Life, again, the Tree of Life is a symbol of different levels of dimensions of nature that are psychological, spiritual, internal. And you can have those experiences in which your body is abandoned and you as a soul, in those planes, some people call it the astral plane, world of dreams―and then in that state, with profound clarity and awareness, you can call upon divinity. This is symbolized by Moses talking to God on Mount Sinai.
What is a mountain? It is a symbol of climbing that Tree of Life in meditation. A very difficult path, but you can reach the peak, those higher levels of consciousness in those states, and then you can call upon for help in those vivid, conscious, illuminated dreams, lucid dreams, people call it. In that way, you can get help from all the divinities of the stars.
If I am telling you this is because this is what I do regularly in my own practices. We receive help. And anyone can do this, because we all have a seed that can develop into that potential. Astrology relates with Kabbalah because when we receive that wisdom from any divinity, help for our physical life, we are performing Kabbalah, kabel, “to receive.” But also we can learn to have those experiences more regularly by working in alchemy, which is the science of The Perfect Matrimony, a book written by Samael Aun Weor, who is one of the founders of this tradition that we study along with many of the books that we have.
Astrology is not just the study of charts or memorizing complicated glyphs and numbers, which can have very interesting correlations to our life or not, but more profoundly, real astrology is when we develop our seed through these methods, these three sciences, so that we can receive help from the stars, literally, from heaven. Heaven is not a physical place, but a state of consciousness. You can awaken in the dream state, no longer projecting your dreams, your mind into that dimension, but you can see things as they are. It is not a vague or an amorphous dimension, but it is a material world just manifested by different levels or laws of nature. It's not physical or material like this physical plane. It's something different.
But that's real astrology. You can talk with the divinity of the stars. We have a book available called Practical Astrology with the different practices that you can use for each of the zodiacal signs during certain times of the month, where you can experience these things for yourself, receive help from those different influences.
Any other questions?
So if you are interested, I invite you to see our websites chicagognosis.org. You also can visit gnosticteachings.org. You'll find a lot of resources that teach this science in a very profound way. We have many courses available. The books that we have for sale here are also available online. You can also read every book, every chapter online. But if you want a hard copy, you can always purchase from here too.
Everything that we teach here is practical. You don't have to believe in any of it. We don't recommend that you believe in any of it, but in a state of neutrality, experiment and practice and see the results. And as you see results in yourself, that develops what we call genuine faith. People in these times confuse faith and belief. Faith is real knowledge born from experience. When you know from conscious experience that putting your hand on a hot stove burns you, you have faith that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you are going to get burned. It's a concrete experience. But even with those mystical experiences that all the saints of the different traditions taught, you can have that faith too, and you'll know from a state of lucidity and consciousness what those realities are, and then you don't the believe in anything. Belief doesn't change anyone. So again, you are also free to take some flyers and pamphlets if you are interested. We have the books available too, but I thank you all for coming.
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